$65 million South Bowmanville Recreation Centre finally gets green light

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Published October 5, 2023 at 9:59 am

Renovations being performed at the Garnett Rickard Centre in Bowmanville

Clarington is finally moving forward with construction of the new South Bowmanville Recreation Centre, a project that has been on again, off again for more than six years because of rising construction and supply chain costs.

Clarington Council voted at a special meeting October 2 to spend $65 million to develop, design and construct the first phase of the new facility, which will include a gymnasium and multi-purpose rooms for registered and drop-in programs; a sports dome and indoor walking track; and an outdoor skating rink.

The project was actually approved in 2019 with a library built in (and a 25-metre pool being added in the second phase) but was put on hold last year when costs skyrocketed to $134 million – more than double the original estimate.

Council also committed to using the upcoming findings of Clarington’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan – which will be finalized in 2024 – to identify the need for other amenities, such as indoor ice rinks, an aquatic centre, or other facilities. The South Bowmanville Recreation Centre building footprint will be able to accommodate future expansion. Public consultations on the new Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan will begin later this year.

Council also approved the construction of two additional outdoor ice-skating rinks at a cost of $8 million – one at Courtice Community Complex (to open November 2024) and the other at the Diane Hamre Recreation Complex in Newcastle (to open November 2025).

“Earlier this year, we faced a roadblock in the development of the South Bowmanville Recreation Centre, with construction costs more than doubling. I’m pleased that Clarington was able to find a solution that will meet the immediate needs of the community while staying on budget and allowing room for expansion in the future,” said Mayor Adrian Foster. “Plus, with the addition of three new refrigerated outdoor skating rinks, residents will enjoy an extended outdoor skating season – something we know families are excited about here in Clarington.”

Ground-breaking for Clarington’s largest new capital investment was supposed to happen this fall with a two-year build schedule.

Staff looked at other financing options, including bringing in the private sector, before shelving the project in the spring but Foster said at the time it would be “difficult” to give the green light to the project today, “due to circumstances beyond our control.”

The original proposal approved in 2019 was to be primarily funded through federal and provincial grants but those applications eventually fell through.

Learn more about the South Bowmanville Recreation Centre, which will be located on the Clarington Fields lands, by visiting www.clarington.net/SouthBowmanvilleRec.

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