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Cost of proposed South End Community Centre increases by $12 million

Inclusion of environmental sustainability features add $6.5 million
south end community centre
Artists rendition of a new South End Community Centre for Guelph.

The price tag attached to the city’s plan for a South End Community Centre has gone up by $12 million.

The reasons given by staff in a report to city council include a number of proposed changes aimed at helping the city meet its net zero carbon emissions goal, which account for over $6 million of the increase.

“The environmental sustainability features we’ve designed into this centre moves us towards mitigating the effects of climate change,” explains Antti Vilkko, the city’s general manager of facilities and energy management, in a news release. “They also translate to future savings. The updated design reflects our community’s desire to reduce our environmental footprint and lower our reliance on non-renewable energy sources.”

With an estimated price tag of $80 million, up from $68 million, the 165,000-square-foot facility includes a pool, two gyms and two ice pads, to be built on Clair Road, beside Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School, just north of the Larry Pearson baseball complex.

Development charges are expected to cover about 85 per cent of the cost, with the rest contributed by taxpayers.

A city staff report, slated to be presented during city council’s Oct. 5 Committee of the Whole meeting, explains the price increase stems from energy conservation-related construction costs, the use of energy efficient equipment and the inclusion of renewable energy infrastructure which will add about $6.5 million to the cost.

The report includes a recommendation to council to approve the changes and new budget. The committee decision will go to a special council meeting on Oct. 7 for ratification.

If the project changes and new budget are ultimately approved, construction is expected to begin in 2022. Opening is tentatively set for autumn 2024.

Additional increases are due to cost estimate refinements associated detailed design of the site and building ($1.7 million); equipment, communication, information technology and security costs ($1 million); additional construction contract administration costs ($800,000); the inclusion of public art ($400,000) and general inflation ($1.6 million)

“Due to the proximity of the construction site to the South End Community Park, it is anticipated that this park and its amenities, including Larry Pearson Ball diamonds, tennis courts, splash pad and playground, will not be accessible to the public for 2022 and most likely 2023,” states the staff report. “Staff will work with user groups to relocate requests to other city facilities. In the event that safe access and appropriate parking become available, we will endeavor to open the park earlier while work continues inside the building. 

“Staff will also be working closely with the Wellington Catholic District School Board to provide reduced temporary parking spaces, safe from the construction site, while the permanent shared parking area is being created.”