After years of anticipation, work is finally ready to begin on the new Wellesley Township Recreation Centre. A ground-breaking ceremony took place Monday morning at the site, located at the corner of Queens Bush and Hutchison roads.
Construction is expected to begin this month, said Danny Roth, director of recreation at the township. He says the targeted completion date is in the fall of 2023. The project is budgeted to cost $27.2 million.
“It’s been almost three years trying to put this thing together,” said Mayor Joe Nowak at the event. “There’s been many bumps in the road.”
Nowak noted how the province denied the township funding at first, and staff thought most of the project would need to be self-funded. Later the province pledged $16 million.
A new recreation centre first gathered attention when the poor state of the roof at the Wellesley arena closed the facility. Now, the new recreation centre will replace the old arena. Proceeds from selling the old arena lot will go toward offsetting the cost of the new build.
A community fundraising campaign is also underway with a goal of generating $2.5 million.
Campaign chair Chris Martin said the committee is well on its way to meeting that goal. Recent large contributions from community members and businesses have helped the campaign gain and maintain momentum.
Martin said the fundraising campaign had two main goals: first to garner support and communicate with the community about the features and design, and then to raise funds.
Martin said he is excited about how many of the features in the centre will work together.
“Everything is interconnected, it’s a hub,” he said. He gave examples of the youth centre and the gymnasium, the fitness centre and the walking track, and the outdoor spaces.
“I’m incredibly proud of our community, what we’ve designed,” he added.
“It’s going to be transformational for the community,” said Nowak. “I think we’re all looking forward to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.”