Frequently Asked Questions

*** FAQS ARE UPDATED OFTEN when questions are received. If you have further questions, please contact***


1- When will construction start, and how long will it take?

Construction of the new Aquatic and wellness centre is set to start by August 2024 with an estimated completion of early 2027.

The timeline for completing the renovation of the Rod Brind’Amour Arena will be determined when the detailed design is completed in Fall 2024. Impacts on the user groups and other interested parties will be heavily considered regarding the timing of construction.  Details will be shared with all interested parties as soon as they become available.

Phase one is projected to span two and half years for completion. The project team is currently examining the ideal start time for Phase Two construction.

2- Why is the New Aquatic and wellness centre being constructed before the Arena? 

The aquatic centre renewal is farther along in the planning and design process and was always envisioned to be phase one of facility upgrades. The Strathcona Gardens pool has an existing water leak(s) in it that has created voids underneath the pool basin, making it a higher priority for renovation than the arena.  

3- Where can I find info about any facility or programming impacts at Strathcona Gardens?

There will be a dedicated page on the Strathcona Gardens website that will provide up to date information on construction impacts to our facility, including where to park, building entrances, and any changes to our drop-in or registered programming. We will also communicate major changes through our social media channels.


4 – What is this project all about?

The Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex is a well-loved and well-used recreational facility that contributes to the health and well-being of residents within the City of Campbell River, Electoral Area D and surrounding areas. It provides countless personal, social, and economic benefits to the public, and is integral to building strong communities. Key components of Strathcona Gardens were constructed in the 1970’s. Through studies, we know that the facility is aging and is in need of renewal. More needs to be done to maintain and enhance this valued public asset.

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) owns and operates Strathcona Gardens. The REC-REATE Strathcona Gardens revitalization project was created in planning for the future of the facility. The goal of REC-REATE is to renew the facility to address aging components which are nearing end of life and to meet the diverse and changing recreational needs of the community now and in the future.

5 – Why is this happening now?

REC-REATE grew out of recommendations from a 2015 needs assessment study and 2016 condition assessment.

The condition assessment told us that the facility is aging and needs renewal. The condition of the pool was of particular concern – the pool is at risk of failing at any time. Without a plan in place to build a new pool, the aquatic centre could be shut down leaving the community with no indoor pool and preventing access to some of the critical programming it offers.

During the needs assessment, the public was asked to inform the SRD how they are doing and share ideas on how to better meet recreational needs and expectations. Through surveys and open houses with Electoral Area D and City of Campbell River residents, SRD staff heard the existing facility is at it’s capacity and more can be done to meet the needs of users. A number of potential actions were identified, including operational enhancements, business planning, and redevelopment of the building.

The Strathcona Gardens Commission, the governing body responsible for making decisions relating to the administration and operation of the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex, supported further investigations and the establishment of a reserve fund for future works.

6 – What has happened so far? What come’s next?

REC-REATE Phase 1 – Aquatic Center and Wellness Center Project Stages

  1. Needs Assessment and Condition Assessment Reports – Completed in 2015 and 2016
  2. Planning (Feasibility study) – Completed in 2018
  3. Grant Applications – 2019 and 2020 (unsuccessful)
  4. Procurement – Detailed Design (RFP) – Completed in March 2021
  5. Detailed Design –Completed in November 2022
  6. SRD Board of Directors approves 2023-2027 Financial Plan – $73 Million for REC-REATE – 2023
  7. Grant application – 2023 (unsuccessful)
  8. Project Tendering and Cost Reductions Process – June 2024
  9. Construction start – Summer 2024
  10. Estimated Completion – Spring 2027

REC-REATE Phase 2 – Rod Brind’Amour Arena Renovation – Project Status

  1. Needs Assessment and Condition Assessment Reports – Completed in 2015 and 2016
  2. Planning (Feasibility study) – Completed in 2018
  3. Grant Applications – 2019 and 2020 (unsuccessful)
  4. Detailed Design – Initiated Fall 2023 and anticipated to be completed in Fall 2024
  5. Construction – To be determined, pending funding and approval by the SRD Board

7 – What is included in phase 1 of the project?

Deciding what would be included in phase one was an iterative process, considering many different options. It included community feedback and approvals from the Strathcona Gardens Commission and the Regional Board of Directors. What resulted is a balance between the community’s needs vs. wants, the budget, space and the need to keep the existing pool open during construction.

Aquatics – see design & learn more at

  • 8-lane 25m lap pool
    • 1m springboard
    • Climbing wall
  • Leisure Pool
    • Beach entry
    • Tot splash zone with spray features
    • Lazy River
  • Wellness pool
  • Hot pool
  • Waterslide
  • Universal and gendered changerooms
  • Lifeguard room and first aid station


  • Aquatic patio
  • Outdoor social heart
  • Improved drop off area
  • New landscaping


  • 3 multipurpose rooms

Wellness Centre – see design & learn more at

  • Wellness reception and waiting area
  • 5 new treatment rooms
  • 5 new assessment rooms

Fitness Area

  • Large fitness rooms in renovated existing natatorium

Admin + Gathering

  • New administrative offices
  • New reception area with office
  • Renovated lobby & gathering area


  • Purpose-built ice melt pit

With the exception of the ice melting pit, improvements and upgrades to the ice facilities identified in the feasibility study are not included in Phase 1.

8 – When was the Rod Brind’Amour arena added to the project?

In January 2023, three options for moving the REC-REATE project forward were presented to the Strathcona Gardens Commission.

  1. Replace the existing pool – like for like.
  2. Build the newly designed Aquatic Centre and renovated Wellness spaces.
  3. Build the new Aquatic Centre, renovated Wellness spaces and add the Rod Brind’Amour arena to the project.

The Commission selected Option 3 with the financial costs being supported in the 2023-2027 Financial Plan.

The Rod Brind’Amour arena’s renovation design will focus on enhancing the arena’s functionality and user experience including expanding spectator seating and upgrading team rooms, creating the potential to attract a Junior A hockey team to our region and hosting a more diverse range of events.

Additionally, we plan to introduce a second-level walking loop, providing more opportunities for rehabilitation and fitness activities within the facility. Moreover, we’re enhancing way-finding and connectivity throughout the arena, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable experience for all visitors.

The design team has been selected, and we anticipate having detailed design drawings in the Fall of 2024.

9 – How is parking incorporated into the new project design?

For the majority of the operating year, parking spaces will be plentiful and exceed BC Building Code requirements for the Strathcona Gardens facility capacity. During special events, SRD will work with its neighbours to try to secure additional off-street parking. Additional covered bike parking spaces including charge points for e-bikes will support those who choose to commute to the centre by bike instead of car.

Parking impacts related to the Arena Renovation will be evaluated as part of the Phase two design.

10 – What do the detailed designs look like?

Click HERE to see images of the design plans for Phase One and the concept plan for Phase Two. Both designs were developed by HCMA Architecture + Design.


11 – How much is the project going to cost to build?

The cost to build Phase One, the new Aquatic Center and wellness spaces renovation, is $69.8 Million.

The detailed design for the renovation and upgrades to the Rod Brind‘Amour Arena is progressing with a completion planned for Fall 2024  The 2019 schematic design details provided an estimated cost of $20 million; based on the recent tender results for the aquatic centre it is anticipated that the total project costs will increase significantly. Complete details will be provided once the design is completed and a Class A estimated received.

12- How does the project budget compare to the 2023 estimate?

The decision to issue the contract to construct phase one was not made lightly by the board as bids came in $22 million higher than anticipated. SRD did an in-depth review and negotiated with trades to find efficiencies, cutting costs by $6.3 million. Despite the significant savings, the project cost remains $15.7 million over the 2023 estimate.

13- Why is the project over budget?

Infrastructure costs escalation is happening in communities across Canada for reasons outside local government control. Experts cite  reasons such as inflation, labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, interest rates, and building code and energy regulation changes.  

 Other communities in BC, including Tofino, Victoria, Kelowna, North Vancouver, and Burnaby, are currently dealing with comparable challenges in similar positions, discussing how to proceed with major recreation projects for which construction costs continue to grow. 

Before issuing the construction contract for phase one, SRD did an in-depth review of the bids and negotiation with trades to find efficiencies This reduced phase one construction expenses by $6.3 million, but the overall budget has still grown. 

14- How much will the REC-REATE project cost taxpayers? 

There is sufficient funding within the current tax requisition and borrowing authority to complete phase one, construction of the new aquatic centre and wellness spaces for $69.8 Million.  No tax increases will be required.

However, the rising cost of construction has created some financial challenges for phase two improvements to the Rod Brind’Amour Arena. Detailed engineering design is currently underway for renovations to the Rod Brind’Amour Arena, and the Board will review cost estimates for phase two later this year to determine funding options and next steps.

15 – How is the project being funded?

The Project is being funded through a combination of user fees, reserve funds allocated for this purpose and borrowing.

16- What steps are being taken to prevent the budget from increasing further? 

Before issuing the construction contract for phase one, SRD staff did an in-depth review and negotiated with trades 6.3 million, but the overall budget has still grown. The SRD also conducted proactive hazardous materials and soil testing to reduce the risk of environmental or geotechnical issues presenting unforeseen cost impacts during construction  


17 –What is an Alternative Approval Process (AAP)?

An Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is used to measure the level of support and provide legislative approval from the residents for the initiative and subsequent borrowing being proposed.

The Regional Board will typically advertise its intent and high-level information on the nature of the project, the amount of money required to be borrowed, and the financial impact on the residents should the approval process be successful. The borrowing initiative is deemed approved by the community, if less than 10% of electors submit a petition objecting to the borrowing.

The AAP passed, which means the Regional District will have the authority to borrow up to ~$64 million. That is the maximum amount that can be borrowed, not necessarily the amount that will be borrowed. If project costs are lower or the Regional District receives grants, we may not need to borrow the full amount.

More information about Strathcona Gardens Alternative Approval Process  can be found at

18- Why did the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) choose an Alternative Approval Process?

  • The Regional District is required by the Local Government Act to obtain the approval of the electors using an Alternative Approval Process or referendum vote.
  • The cost of an AAP is significantly less than seeking approval via voting at a referendum and is often preferred for that reason. If the AAP process isn’t successful (10% of electors submit written objection forms), the Regional Board then determines whether the proposal should be taken to a vote of the electors.
  • The AAP is somewhat quicker, and time is a factor in this case for making a decision.
  • An AAP is truly an opinion poll in that the Board may either proceed to adoption if there is little opposition, or proceed with assent voting if ratepayer support is questionable.

19 – What were the results of the Alternative Approval Process?

A total of 106 electors (0.32%) submitted valid forms through the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) to oppose the $64.6 million loan authorization bylaw.

Under the Alternative Approval Process, approval of the electors is obtained if the number of elector responses received is less than 10 percent of the number of electors within Campbell River and Area D (32,880 people).

The AAP closed at noon on October 4th.

The SRD Board of Directors received and reviewed the results of the AAP and discussed the next steps at the regular board meeting on Wednesday, November 8th.

20 – If I was opposed to Bylaw No. 342, how could I have submitted a response?

Electors who were opposed to the Regional Board adopting Bylaw No. 342 without first obtaining assent of the electors by voting could have submitted a completed copy of the approved response form (available here) in person or by mail to the Regional District corporate office at 990 Cedar Street in Campbell River not later than noon on October 4, 2023.

The Regional District only accepted originally signed forms.  Completed forms submitted by email or by fax machine were not accepted.

Following the deadline, each response form was reviewed by the Corporate Officer to confirm its authenticity and to verify the elector status of the person submitting the form. A report outlining the results of the alternative approval process was submitted for consideration by the Regional Board.