nexsourceBy Anna Guy

On May 12, 2017, the ribbon on the NexSoure Centre in Sylvan Lake was officially cut, an important milestone in an ambitious development plan by the town.

With its beautiful lakefront, water skiing, fishing, and camping, Sylvan Lake, has been well known for decades as a tourist hotspot, attracting close to a million visitors every summer. But these days, more and more people are asking themselves why not make Sylvan Lake home. The Alberta town, which is located close to Red Dear, has experienced population growth well above the national average, and with over 1,200 businesses spanning all industries and sectors based in Sylvan Lake.

With population growth comes development growth. In June of 2009, the Town of Sylvan Lake held a public open house to discuss what the town needed to “help to define the development” of the town, and support the population growth and residents. It was discerned from that open house that the town members wanted to develop new play areas for children, a curling facility, additional meeting spaces and a communal space for community members to exercise and socialize. In fact, an indoor track for fitness, jogging and walking was ranked as a first priority for respondents, closely followed by an aquatic centre, an indoor ice rink and indoor children’s play ground.

And so, with a thorough survey of the public’s vision and prescient outlook for the future of Sylvan Lake as a thriving family-based community, Sylvan Lake designed a $33.5 million dollar, state-of-the-art centre that brought all those things together, and more.

Corporate Support

“We’ve had such great uptake from the corporate community,” says Sean McIntyre, Mayor of Sylvan Lake. “[The community is] investing themselves and investing their companies in making this facility possible for our population now and our residents in generations to come.” In keeping with the tight-knit community theme, multiple businesses stepped forward to help sponsor the community centre, but few more than NexSource Power. A major presence and employer in the community, NexSource was the largest donor towards the projects, and was given naming rights in return.

On March 31, 2017, the NexSource Centre opened to the public. The 155,000+ square foot leisure and wellness centre is where community is built. The centre has everything dreamed of in 2009 and more: two NHL-size rinks (which can be used for concerts and trade shows when not in use); a curling rink with five sheets, used for weekend bonspiels to provincial and national curling events; a three-track indoor walking lane; multipurpose rooms; and children’s play space. The aquatic centre is also a part of the NexSource Centre, bringing so many great activities under one roof.

Not just a recreation centre, it also has a vibrant senior centre built into it. There are added programming and multipurpose rooms for meetings, weddings, events, as well as local recreation programing and arts and culture programing, all integrated into a seamless facility. “What we wanted to do was envelope a number of facilities into a single location,” says Joanne Gaudet, Communications Officer for the town. “The centre will be busy. Sylvan Lake has played host to a variety of festivals and sporting events, and with the NexSource centre, will be even more equipped to facilitate these types of events.”

The all-ages Viewpoint Lounge provides visitors 4,400 square feet of opportunity to come together, socialize, and maybe take in a bonspiel or hockey game, as the lounge has a great view of both the curling rink and arena. People are welcome to enjoy the wonderful service after the game (or fitness class—they won’t judge!)

Green Initiatives

Energy efficiency and cost saving systems were another big priority. The NexSource Centre’s heat recovery mechanical system, Thermenex, is a trademarked HVAC System with a patented hydronic energy exchange system that optimizes the transfer, exchange and reuse of a building’s inherent thermal energy. In other words, when the HVAC system is working hard to keep the ice rinks cool, for instance, the heat that is generated from those cooling systems is then recovered and used to heat the space, domestic hot water, and the pool. There is a lot of efficiency and interplay in the system, and considerable green house gas emission and cost savings.

The NexSource Centre is a key component to a wider development plan for the town, which includes renovations of Lakeshore Drive, and expanding the business community. No longer a bedroom community, future development opportunities are underway, with newly available industrial land for big growth in the oil and gas sector. Developers are looking to the community to be home to future development to house new residents and put up industrial, commercial and retail space. Since 2011 alone, over 500 new businesses have set up shop in Sylvan Lake.

The NexSource Centre is a symbol of Sylvan Lake’s growth, but more importantly its commitment to fostering community spirt and pride, and letting newcomers know that the town has the amenities to support full-time residents. As Mayor McIntyre puts it, “If you haven’t been to Sylvan Lake lately, you haven’t been to Sylvan Lake.”