With closure of the Beltline Community Hub (formerly the Beltline Aquatic and Fitness Centre), Calgarians in the inner city are losing another public gathering space. After working closely with the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association (BNA) and other stakeholders to explore options to keep the building open to the public, The City of Calgary is closing the nearly 70-year-old facility.
"It's deeply disappointing that this facility is closing," said Peter Oliver, President of the BNA. "However, we understand The City's reasoning and we appreciate the efforts they made over the past few years to explore extending the life of the Beltline Community Hub."
"During those efforts, we saw first hand the impact of the facility and its recreational programming on the average Beltline resident and families," he continued. "There is a clear need for indoor public gathering spaces and programming. For a community of over 25,000 residents , the Beltline is sorely lacking in that area and this closure is a blow to us all."
The City of Calgary has explained that the costs to renovate the aging facility and bring it up to modern standards is prohibitive. In addition, The City is investing $45 million in expanding the MNP Community and Sport Centre (Lindsay Park) starting in 2023.
"We are optimistic that the investment in the MNP Community and Sport Centre in Lindsay Park will make up for the lack of accessible public space and accessible community programming lost by the closure of the Beltline Community Hub," said Oliver. "Our diverse community needs indoor spaces and programming that everyone can access no matter their financial or physical ability.
"In the meantime, we are left with a significant gap that is a disappointment to our citizens."