The City of Swift Current's aspirations to build a new aquatic facility have been dealt a temporary blow.

Swift Current Mayor Al Bridal opened city council tonight by sharing that their application to the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Program from February of 2023 was denied.

The application, hoping to obtain $25 million split between the federal and provincial governments, would have covered the majority of funding needed to build the single-use facility.

Bridal said they received a letter notifying them of the federal government's decision and they were given no reason for being turned down. Although an explanation may be forthcoming in the months ahead, he hopes.

"It's just coming down to our turn in the lottery," he said. "We're in western Canada, some other communities in western Canada have got this grant and we just have to wait our turn. We've been waiting quite a few years because we really haven't got a grant like this in a very long time."

Last year the City pegged a new aquatics centre and atrium cost at around $36 million, leaving them on the hook for about $11 million if approval was given. Shortly after their application was submitted, the Southwest Facility Foundation was erected to help the City with funding and to strengthen its case for funding from two levels of government.

Their goal is to raise $8 million to help in construction but according to Bridal only half of that target would be put towards an aquatics centre and the other portion would be put towards a field house or different facility. 

"It's not like in Assiniboia where they'd been fundraising for 27 years and they handed the town a cheque for $4.7 million," he said. "Here they have promises from businesses and people, these promises will be fulfilled over a five-year span."

Bridal affirmed that without federal and provincial backing, the City cannot afford to finance a new aquatics centre on its own to replace the current one that's over 40 years old. Even with the bulk of residents in Swift Current lobbying for one.

"This money is not borrowed by the City of Swift Current or by Al Bridal," he said. "The City of Swift Current is all 17,000 citizens we have living here."

The delayed response from the government this time around compared to their 2021 application gave Bridal some hope they're at least moving up the ladder to receive a green light in the future.

"We were turned down two years ago, for a very similar type of funding," he said. "I think there were 1,500 applicants two years ago and we didn't even make the top 500. This year it took several more months to get ahold of us so, they haven't told us where we ranked, like whether we made the top 500 but I'm guessing we did."

The City is hoping that a similar grant application will open again this year and they're hoping to apply again.