Major financial boost from Ottawa helping fund Whitby Sports Complex

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Published March 5, 2024 at 4:33 pm

Whitby Sports Complex

Funding for the future Whitby Sports Complex in Brooklin will be boosted by a $25 million investment from the federal government, a welcome infusion for a project that is already expected to come in nearly $50 million over budget.

The accessible, net-zero carbon facility near Baldwin Street and Hwy 407 will feature a twin-pad arena, an aquatics centre, double gymnasium, wellness studio, three-lane walking track, meeting rooms and arts and cultural spaces when it’s complete.

The federal funding will come from the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program.

Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull said the facility will be a “welcoming space” for sport, recreation and cultural programming for the entire community.

“This is fantastic news for the Town of Whitby and our community,” Turnbull said at Tuesday’s announcement. “The Whitby Sports Complex will serve our growing community by offering a wide range of athletic, recreational and cultural programs and activities. I have consistently advocated for this meaningful investment from the federal government and know it will ensure the sports complex will be built to net-zero carbon standards, be barrier-free, and inclusive for the entire community.”

The complex will incorporate features to help all visitors navigate and use it with ease, including wheelchair ramps, slip resistant floor finishes, widened automated doorways, ramp access in swimming pools, and barrier-free signage. There will also be gender-neutral and universal washrooms and change rooms.

Groundbreaking for the 160,000 sq. ft. sports centre happened in September and the facility is expected to open in late 2025.

“This state-of-the-art facility will meet the immediate and future recreation needs of our rapidly growing community as well as the Town’s environmental and climate commitments,” said Whitby Mayor Elizabeth Roy, who added she was “very pleased” with the federal funding. “It will be one of the first multipurpose recreation facilities in Canada to be certified as a LEED Gold and Zero Carbon Building through the Canada Green Building Council. “

The 13-acre outdoor park neighbouring the facility is also planned to include pickleball, tennis, and basketball courts; a multi-purpose sports field; a playground; as well as a skatepark and pump track.

Roy called the facility a “significant milestone” for the Town at last fall’s groundbreaking.

“We heard loud and clear that people want a flexible and connected design with lots of outdoor, aquatics, and gymnasium space. That’s exactly what this site will deliver, helping to ensure that we can meet the recreational needs of our growing community for years to come.”

The original budget for the project was $111 million but the price had already ballooned to $154.9 million (plus a ‘fee adjustment’ to architect Perkins + Will) by the time the Town awarded the contract to Ledcor Construction in July of 2023. The project budget was increased to account for updated amenities built into the final facility design and is in now on-time and on-budget.

The shortfall was made up during 2024 budget deliberations by deferring some other projects on the list and taking some funds out of reserves.

Groundbreaking for the Whitby Sports Complex in September 2023

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