A new older adult centre with a $26.6 million price tag will be coming to Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex after city councillors unanimously approved initiating detailed design for its expansion Monday evening.

The proposed design presented to council includes:

  • An addition on the east side of the complex including a gymnasium, more lobby space, change rooms, locker, storage and office spaces.
  • A repurposed Hauser Haus for a central fitness centre and an indoor walking concourse.
  • A new older adult centre to replace the two existing seniors' centres.

The proposed concepts were drafted with over 200 people's input from community consultations in October this year, according to the City of Waterloo's website.

In January when the city first announced the plans to expand the complex, Beth Rajnovich, the project manager, told CBC News the expansion plan comes out of the new older adult recreation strategy approved in 2015 to better serve that demographic.

Rajnovich told CBC News the existing older centres aren't as accessible as they could be: with narrow corridors and washroom designs that don't meet current accessibility guidelines. 

"That made it tough for a full range of older adults regardless of their physical mobility to participate in programs in that space," she said on Tuesday.

Another goal of the expansion is to provide better parking options for older adults so they can park closer to the new centre,  which sits on a large parking lot.

Based on the current proposal, the project is estimated to cost $26.6 million, which will be "provided primarily by development charges revenue." 

City staff will return to council in February 2019 to get further approval to begin construction after the detailed design is complete. The city estimates the new older adult centre will be open in spring or summer 2021.