Clarington to finance $61 million arena/pool complex through debentures


Published May 31, 2022 at 2:10 pm

interior construction work at Bowmanville's Rickard Centre in 2018

Clarington will finance the long-awaited South Bowmanville Recreation Centre through debentures.

The $61,055,000 project was approved at the February 14 Council meeting, with staff tasked with sorting out the financing. Debentures are unsecured securities usually only issued to governments and large corporations with Triple ‘A’ credit ratings.

The Region of Durham is responsible for the issuance of any long-term debt on behalf of the local municipalities and Clarington staff had been working on the debenture issue for the past three weeks to meet a June deadline from the Region to have all the documentation ready.

Council may phase the debenture financing if the need requires.

The complex, which is currently in the design/architectural phase, will have twin ice pads and a swimming pool. Construction timelines are unknown at this time though an official timeline is forthcoming.

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.

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.

Clarington will also be financing the $6.4 million price tag for replacing the arena floors at facilities in Orono and Newcastle through debentures.

Other recreational facilities in Clarington are also ageing. 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.

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