Cambridge eyes southeast Galt for multiplex as price tag increases

A staff report estimates it could cost as much as $130 million dollars to build the Cambridge multiplex at a new location. The report, which will be presented at a general committee meeting Tuesday night, eyes city-owned land in southeast Galt as a potential new site for the project.

Report from city staff estimates multi-purpose recreation complex will cost as much at $130M at new location

A report from Cambridge city staff zeroes in on city-owned land in southeast Galt as a potential new location for the multiplex, after council decided to cancel plans to build the recreation complex at the Cambridge Centre Mall in February. (City of Cambridge)

The City of Cambridge is going back to the drawing board to select a new site for its multiplex, but the price tag for the project has already gone up more than $50 million.

Last month, council cancelled plans to build the multi-purpose recreation complex at the Cambridge Centre Mall, which had a price tag of $81.5 million.

Now, a staff report estimates it could cost as much as $130 million to build the multiplex at a new location.

The report, which will be presented at a general committee meeting Tuesday night, eyes city-owned land in southeast Galt as a potential new site for the project and outlines three different options for development.

The most expensive option, at $130 million, would see the city go forward with the original plan for a four-pad arena, aquatic centre, gymnasium, fitness track and multi-purpose rooms.

The second option, which would cost the city $94.6 million, would include all of the same features but reduce the number of ice pads to two.

The third and least expensive option, at $59 million, would eliminate the ice pads altogether.

"[In] the future we can come back and build ice pads at the same location, or at any other locations in the city," explained Yogesh Shah, director of asset management for the City of Cambridge. 

Shah said the southeast Galt location would also allow the city to create a "community hub" in the area.

Cambridge originally purchased the land in 2007, in partnership with the Idea Exchange, the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

"So it provides an opportunity to build two schools, an Idea Exchange library, as well as the recreation complex at the same location," Shah said.

'A transformative project'

Mayor Kathryn McGarry said council is continuing to look for an affordable solution that's in the best interest of taxpayers and sports groups.

"I feel that even though we are trying to ensure that we get the right location, that this will be a transformative project for the community and something to look forward to," she said, in an interview on CBC's The Morning Edition.

McGarry said the southeast Galt site would allow the city to invest more money in the facility, because it wouldn't have to purchase new lands.

There are still four other locations on the table in addition to the land southeast Galt. Those sites include:

  • 261 Hespeler Rd.
  • 220 Pinebush Rd.
  • North Corner of Franklin and Savage Dr.
  • 850 Fountain St. S. (Conestoga College).

In the meantime, city staff are recommending a public information centre and online engagement forum be set up to receive feedback.

McGarry said the community will have a chance to weigh in all of the options, including those presented in the staff report.

"Our community and our public and those that are going to be using the centre will have a list of options and prices in front of them, in order to make a good decision about where this facility will go."

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