Wellesley moving ahead with $27-million recreation complex
Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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Wellesley moving ahead with $27-million recreation complex

Something for everyone is not only the slogan for the fundraising campaign, it’s the goal of the new Wellesley Township Recreation Centre which will offer a wide array of services when the $27-million project is completed.

Council got the ball rolling last week in awarding a $26.5-million contract to Kitchener-based Ball Construction Ltd. to carry out the work. The project will also use another $700,000 for the addition of green features.

After consulting a range of community groups over the last few years, the township advisory committee recommended a new facility meet as many needs as possible rather than leaving anyone out.

Along with an NHL-sized rink, the facility at Queens Bush and Hutchison roads in Wellesley village will include eight dressing rooms (two fully accessible), a dressing room for the Applejacks Junior C hockey team, a youth centre, seniors’ centre, a gymnasium that could serve as a community centre, meeting rooms, fitness rooms, a walking track,  a commercial kitchen, a multi-use court, a skate park, active outdoor play centre, two soccer fields and outdoor walking trails.

There’s room on the site for a future second ice pad and outdoor pool, as well.

The township is also in negotiations to include space for the community health centre at the location, with costs to be recovered from leasing the space.

The province has pledged $16.1 million for the project, with the remaining $11 million to be paid for by a mix of community fundraising, township reserves, the sale of the site currently home to the Wellesley arena and community centre and borrowing. A report tabled last week puts the cost of debenturing the entire $11 million at $154 per year for each household if paid back over 20 years, or $132 over 25 years.

The exact split has yet to be determined, but the community fundraising campaign has a target of $2.5 million. Meeting this week, councillors approved a price list for naming rights of parts of the facility, with the initial campaign expected to start in mid-January.

Green features are part of the design, as well as an additional $700,000 for solar panels on the roof ($430,500), heat pump options for rooftop units ($189,000) and four electric vehicle charging stations ($73,500).

“As part of the RFP the contractors were asked to ensure the building was built with options to make it energy efficient. Ball Construction included many energy savings measures in their base price such as LED lighting throughout the facility, soft starts on motors in the refrigeration room, and recapturing heat from the refrigeration plant to help heat areas of the facility including the seating area of the arena,” said a report tabled by recreation director Danny Roth.

At a public meeting last week, councillors heard only support for the project, with groups such as Community Care Concepts, the Woolwich Community Health Centre and minor sports all encouraging the township to move ahead with the new facility.

In voting to award the contract, Coun. Peter van der Maas likened the current decision to that of former councils who opted to build arenas in Wellesley and St. Clements decades earlier.

“Big chances were taken at that time, and we benefited from their foresight for 50 years,” he said, noting that the new facility would serve the community, including the youth population. Some 35 per cent of people in Wellesley are under the age of 19, twice the regional average.

“It’s a dynamic community that’s going to use these facilities for a long time.”

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