It’s a recreation plan with plenty of kick to it


City council Tuesday was walked through design plans for the proposed St. Thomas Outdoor Recreation Complex on Burwell Road at Dennis Road and extending south past Silver Street.
Conceived as a multi-use recreation complex, its focus is on the provision of much-needed soccer pitches and football fields, but its scope extends far beyond those two sports.
To be housed on a 65-acre parcel of land, the ambitious complex is the brainchild of a committee struck five years ago by council.

The facility will include a bevy of soccer pitches geared to 3v3, 7v7, 9v9 with a provision for two full-size pitches. In addition there will be a fenced-in artificial turf field to be lighted and available for soccer or football.
Ten of the fields will be irrigated.ST. THOMAS OUTDOOR RECREATION COMPLEX
The fun doesn’t end there. The complex will also serve as a community park featuring a play zone with splash pad, basketball courts, multi-use trail, washrooms, concession stand, change rooms, shade pavilion and several parking lots.
Paul Gardner of Landscape Planning Inc.,  in his presentation to council, pegged the price of the complex at $10.1 million if built in one phase, excluding contingency and HST.
Completing the complex in two separate phases would add an estimated $380,000 to that figure with the cost of Phase 1 (minus the artificial turf field and splash pad) pegged at approximately $7.9 million.
If undertaken in one phase, the facility would require two full summers to complete.
Ross Tucker, the city’s director of parks and recreation, put a “best guess” net operating cost of the complex at $85,000 per year, with the greatest source of revenue – approximately $55,000 per season – emanating from rental of the artificial turf field.
As to any possible contaminated soil on the property, Gardner noted the geotechnical report is expected this week and will address any concerns.
Robin Granger, representing the St. Thomas Soccer Club, was supportive of the complex, in light of the loss of fields in Central Elgin at the former St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital.
However he questioned the need for new, full-sized fields. Instead the soccer club would like to develop an indoor facility housed initially in an inflatable dome, preferably at the complex.
While he noted a slight dip in registration at the youth level, eight new teams will be playing on the full-size pitches at Athletic Park.
He anticipated no change in use at Athletic Park and some movement from Cowan Park to the new complex when it opens.
City manager Wendell Graves indicated the city is now in the process of pre-qualifying contractors, with closing date Feb. 28. A full report will come to council next month and tenders could be out by the end of March.
Council will need to decide whether to proceed in one phase or opt for a two-phase approach over several years.
He added, if all goes to schedule, the project could begin as early as June.
Questions and comments may be emailed to: City Scope

 

 

 

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