Clarington looking to build $65 million recreation complex in south Bowmanville

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Published February 3, 2022 at 10:45 am

Clarington Council will vote on a long-awaited new recreation complex in south Bowmanville on Valentine’s Day, a twin ice pad and swimming pool project that carries a price tag of $65 million.

The proposal is on the agenda for the 2022 budget ratification meeting, though construction timelines – if approved – are not known at this time.

The project has been in the books for at least five years and was in fact approved in 2019, with the first phase scheduled for 2023. That first phase had a library built in, with the pool scheduled for the second phase.

Grants from the federal and provincial governments that were expected to pay for 73 per cent of the facility fell through, however, and project went back to the drawing board. Then COVID-19 came to town and capital projects, big and small – were put off indefinitely.

The 2017 Indoor Facilities Development Strategy report had originally recommended a recreation centre in south Bowmanville, to be built on the site of an indoor soccer centre. The report called for a twin pad arena with gym, fitness centre and multi-use space to be built in 2021, followed by an expansion of the Diane Hamre Recreation Complex in Newcastle and of the South Courtice Community Complex.

The second phase in 2029 would add the pool component to south Bowmanville.

Fast forward to 2021/2022 and the project had returned to the agenda, this time without a library. Clarington was also considering expanding the Garnet Rickard Recreation Complex but the job, which would involve the demolition, removal and relocation of existing fields adjacent to the facility “proved to be too much.”

Which left the south Bowmanville project on the table. With ice time at a premium and pool use one of the few recreational uses that continue to be needed as the population ages, the project will fill a need in Clarington, Council was told at the January 31 Special General Government meeting.

Staff also made Council aware of the ageing infrastructure of some of Clarington’s other recreation facilities: Darlington Sports Centre, which underwent a $2.2 renovation in 2010 to extend its life 10-15 years, will be 50 years old in 2025; and Alan Strike Aquatic & Squash Centre, which had a $3.5 renovation in 2014, will be 50 in 2032.

Also on the budget floor February 14 is interior work at both the Newcastle Arena and Orono Arena. The arena floors in both arenas as well as the refrigeration in-floor systems need to be replaced, at a cost of $6.4 million for both facilities.

If the February 14 budget meeting runs long it will be continued February 18. Residents can watch the meetings live of Clarington’s website by selecting the appropriate meeting date.

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