Council approves tender for construction of St. Thomas Outdoor Recreation Complex


Orin Contractors Corp. of Concord, Ontario was the winning bidder at $9.1 million for construction of the St. Thomas Outdoor Recreation Complex to be located on Burwell Road in the city’s north end.
Monday night, city council unanimously approved accepting the base tender of $9,098,178.97, excluding HST. An amount of $11,440,000 had been approved in the 2017 capital budget.
ST. THOMAS OUTDOOR RECREATION COMPLEXLess than $200,000 separated the top two bids, with the third tender from Aldershot Landscape Contractors coming in at $13.6 million. 
The 65-acre complex will include soccer pitches, a full-size lighted artificial turf football field, a community park with play zone and splash pad, basketball courts, multi-use trail, washrooms, concession stand and change rooms.
City manager Wendell Graves told council opportunities exist to include the soccer and football clubs in fundraising opportunities. This would help pay for items not included in the base tender price, including a shade shelter, a score clock for the artificial surface field, optional bleachers and an equipment storage building.
The St. Thomas Soccer Club has already committed to a donation of nets with an estimated value of $140,000.
A fundraising report will be presented to council at a later date. 
Council last year approved a sum of $450,000 to complete the design and tender specifications for the project.
In March of this year Dave Aristone, director of finance, advised a 20-year loan in the amount of $11 million from Infrastructure Ontario would be the preferred financing option.
Graves had previously advised work on the complex could begin next month.
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Retirement payouts to firefighters enough to make you sick


city_scope_logo-cmykYou have to look very, very carefully to find this gem in last Monday’s council agenda.
We’ll help you out. It’s on Page 65. A warning from the city’s director of finance, David Aristone.
“The various reserve balance are adequate in the short term,” advised Aristone in his 2016 year-end update to council. “However, for the longer term, the city is financially exposed in the following areas.
Aristone lists four areas with the final being “future retirement payouts for the fire department.”
No amount is listed, but we confirmed with human resources director Graham Dart the amount at the end of 2016 was approximately $1.3 million.
A tidy sum, that. And what is the $1.3 million earmarked for?

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Market study recommends more retail in downtown core; revitalization of Elgin Mall


city_scope_logo-cmykIn the period 2000 to 2015, St. Thomas experienced an almost three-fold increase in vacant commercial retail space. That’s one of the key findings in a 2015 retail market study to be presented to council Monday.
The study, undertaken by Dillon Consulting and W. Scott Morgan & Associates, sought to “analyse the ability of the city’s commercial policy framework to support the health of its retail market, while identifying the evolving retail market trends that may affect St. Thomas.”
The city has 2.46 million square feet of retail commercial space – an increase of 15 per cent since 2007 – but in that total, 313,000 square feet is vacant, up from 114,000 in the year 2000.

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Tendering process underway for St. Thomas Outdoor Recreation Complex


While ground is not expected to be broken until June, city council Monday tidied up some of the financial details associated with construction of the St. Thomas Outdoor Recreation Complex, to be located on Burwell Road.
In a unanimous move, council authorized staff to release a tender to pre-qualified contractors based on an estimated construction cost of just over $10 million for the multi-use recreation complex to be housed on a 65-acre, city-owned parcel of land.
Included in the report from finance director David Aristone was a recommendation authorizing him to submit an application to Infrastructure Ontario for a $10 million debenture.

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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.

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