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25-metres, 8-lanes, big water slide

Despite city administration initially recommending against it, the new Yellowknife aquatic centre will have a big, amusement park style water slide.

City council voted for a design that included a 8-metre high water slide, after popular demand from the public.

Councillor Robin Williams proposed an amendment to the plan, including the water slide, saying a pool with a large slide will make Yellowknife an attractive location for tourists to visit and families to live.

The bigger slide will cost $1.4 million extra, because of the extra building costs as well installation of extra pumps and hiring staff to monitor the slide, according to the report presented to council on January 11 by Taylor Architecture Group. 

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As well as cost, there were concerns Yellowknife residents would lose interest in a big slide. 

But information presented to the council on Monday found that slides in Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Iqaluit and Whitehorse where “popularity remains constant.”

Operating costs for the bigger slide are also higher, because it requires two-staff to operate it, one standing at the top and one standing at the bottom. Mayor Rebecca Alty didn’t support the bigger slide, flagging the staffing costs as a concern. 

Some other communities, like Inuvik, have a traffic light at the top of the slide, cutting down on staff costs.

Deputy mayor Steve Payne said this is an idea that could make the added operations and maintenance costs of the bigger slide more palatable.

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“The operations and maintenance costs were a little bit scary but in the last couple weeks I’ve talked to a lot of people but it’s clear the public really wants this, and  if we’re going to do it, we might as well do it right,” said Payne.

“I think that the people of Yellowknife deserve it.”

With this vote by council, the proposal moves ahead to a public referendum. A referendum is needed because the city will have to borrow a large amount of money to fund the project.

A referendum on that decision is set for October.

If approved, the new aquatic centre is expected to be completed by the winter of 2023.

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