Sudbury's canoe club is preparing for what it hopes will be the last summer in its current building, as construction is expected to begin on the multi-million-dollar Northern Water Sports Centre.

Although not all the money is in place yet, construction is slated to begin next month.

The centre — to be located on Ramsey Lake near Science North — will be home to the city's canoe club, rowing club and dragon boat festival, along with other sports and events.

The chair of the board of directors that has raised money for the new building said the first part of construction will be installing the centre's utilities.

"There's been a lot of telling people 'yes, this will happen'," Thomas Merritt said.

"We've all known that it would happen ... but seeing the beginning of that is different than knowing that it will happen in the future."

End ‘in sight’

Merritt said the group still needs to raise more than $200,000 to pay for the new centre, which will cost a total of $4.6 million to build. Most of the money is coming from government and private businesses.

"We're optimistic now that we're in the process of construction, that you'll see construction going on," Merritt said. "The community will be able to rally around that and say ‘the end is in sight ... we'll be able to help you reach that goal’."

Sudbury canoe club coach Dan Welch is glad to see the end is in sight for this project.

He makes a trip up to a storage site three times a week during the summer because there isn’t enough space to store all the boats at the club’s current Ramsey Lake location.

"We have boats stored across the city," he said. "I've got some in my backyard."

The new watersports centre will change that — as early as next spring, when the building is hoped to be ready.