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South End Community Centre, new library drive capital budget

City officials are looking to spend $263.17 million on capital projects next year, pending approval of the draft 2021 city budget
south end rec
Architect's concept drawings for the new proposed South End Community Centre.

City officials are looking to spend $263.17 million on capital projects next year, pending approval of the draft 2021 city budget. Chief among that spending is $80 million for the new South End Community Centre, $62 million for a new central library and $10 million for planning and design work for Baker District.

Council approved the new community centre in October. 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.

Pending budget approval, construction is expected to begin in 2022. Opening is tentatively set for autumn 2024.

The other big ticket item is Baker District – redevelopment of the city-owned Baker Street parking lot – which is slated to see $10 million worth of design and planning work. Council approved the project, valued at $84.3 million to $89.3 million, during the same October meeting as the South End Recreation Centre.

That project includes a new four-storey, 88,000-square-foot central library in a standalone building at the south end of the site, as well as two 15-storey buildings with a mix of commercial and institutional space, along with 300 residential units. The library comes with a $62 million price tag.

Four public spaces are also planned, along with a series of connective pedestrian paths and underground parking.

Construction of the new central library is to start in 2022.

While neither the community centre nor the library break ground until 2022, treasurer Tara Baker explained they need to be in the budget for 2021 to start the procurement and planning processes.

"There is a lot that goes into a project before it breaks ground," she said in an email to GuelphToday. "The city also can’t issue debt until a capital project is approved and the current low interest market is ideal for debenturing in early 2021 rather than risking that cost escalating in the future."

Major road and bridge projects included in the draft 2021 budget documents include:

  • Old Downey Road bridge repairs ($77,000)

  • Norwich Street bridge repairs ($57,000)

  • Alma Street reconstruction from Willow Road to Paisley Road ($396,000)

  • Baker Street reconstruction ($922,000)

  • Lane Street reconstruction from Stevenson Street North to Palmer Street ($407,000)

  • Gordon Street widening from Lowes Road to Edinburgh Road South, with the creation of a left turn lane ($310,000)

  • Metcalf Road reconstruction from Terry Boulevard to Eramosa Road ($3.849 million)

  • William Street reconstruction from Elizabeth Street to Cassino Avenue ($139,000)

  • Eramosa Road reconstruction from Stevenson Street North to Skov Crescent ($617,000)

  • Speedvale Avenue East reconstruction from Woolwich Street to Delhi Street ($1.135 million)

  • Water Street reconstruction from Maple Street to Gordon Street ($476,700)

  • York Road reconstruction from Victoria Road South to city limit ($4 million), and Stevenson Street South to Victoria Road ($5.2 million)

  • Speedvale Avenue West reconstruction and new multi-use path from Elmira Road to Imperial Road North ($2.8 million)

  • New water service feeder line from Silvercreek Parkway North, across the Hanlon Expressway to Paisley reservoir ($2.5 million)

The draft capital budget also includes $3.5 million for a variety of environmental investigation, assessment, monitoring and remediation projects. Among them are:

  • Historical landfill investigation at seven sites at a cost of $1.4 million for 2021 and $5.15 million over the next 10 years

  • Beverly Street, including the former IMICO lands, monitoring and remediation at $1.4million next year and $2.2 million over the next seven years 

  • Fountain Street environmental investigation, in relation to the city’s former coal gasification plant, at a cost of $300,000 for 2021 and $15.3 million over the next 10 years.

  • Baker Street remediation, needed for the Baker District to move ahead, at $50,000 for 2021 and an equal amount for each of the six years following.

Capital projects typically receive funding through a variety of ways, including development charges, reserves, grants, subsidies and property taxes. The 2021 draft capital budget includes $105.4 million from taxes, including debt to be paid with future tax money.