(Fort McMurray, AB, July 9, 2014) - The Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC) delivered its final facility design and preliminary capital cost estimate recommendation for the Northside Recreation Centre to Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Council on Tuesday night.

The recommendation was driven by four rounds of community engagement highlighted by 30 in-person engagement sessions and 9,593 participation responses from community members.

“On June 10, RMWB Council directed the RRC to deliver a final design and capital cost estimate for the Northside Recreation Centre by July 8 and we’re very pleased to provide our recommendation following a community engagement process that was rooted in an open, collaborative conversation with residents and community groups,” said Michael Cachia, Chair of the RRC Board of Directors. “We are confident this recommendation is strongly supported by the community.”

RMWB Council voted to accept as presented the final design and capital cost recommendation for the Northside Recreation Centre, which will be located at the Abrams Land development. The facility as recommended is approximately 250,000 sq. ft. at an estimated capital cost of $193.8 million and includes:

  • Twin Arena
  • Aquatics Centre
  • Cardio, CrossFit and Fitness Space
  • Running/Walking Track
  • Gymnasium
  • Child Play and Child Mind with Sensory Room
  • Youth Area and Skate Park
  • Library Space
  • Art Studio
  • Bowling Alley (Lease)
  • Food Services and Retail Space (Lease)

The recommended facility does not include lease space for a cinema operator as was presented to the community during the final round of community engagement, which closed on June 21, 2014. On June 23, 2014, the RRC received communications from Landmark Cinemas of Canada that it has reached a tentative agreement to bring a new cinema to Eagle Ridge.

“The idea of lease space for a cinema at Northside received strong support from engagement participants,” said Tim Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the RRC. “Given the development of a new cinema at Eagle Ridge, the RRC Board of Directors made the decision to present a recommendation to Council that does not include lease space for a cinema operator at Northside, as it would be responsible to avoid competition with private business in this area.”

Construction is planned in phases with Phase 1 (Twin Arena) beginning in September, 2014 and Phase 2 (remainder of facility) currently proposed to begin in June, 2015. Capital funding for Phase 1 (Twin Arena) has been approved by RMWB Council while Phase 2 (remainder of facility) is listed as Alternative Capital Financing and will be considered as part of 2015 capital budget process.

Following a public RFP process in fall, 2012, Architecture ATB is design and architectural firm for the Northside Recreation Centre and Clark Builders is acting as capital cost consultant to the RRC.

The final design and capital cost recommendation presentation and Northside Recreation Centre draft business plan can be viewed at ONErec.ca/Northside, alongside summaries of all four rounds of community engagement and all comments provided by engagement participants.