There's finally progress to report in the decade old plan for a multi-million dollar recreation center in Orillia.
On Monday night, council gave its unanimous approval to build an 110,000 sq. ft. recreation centre. The facility will hold three swimming pools, a double gymnasium and a fitness centre.
As the first planning crews arrive on the site, Orillia Mayor Steve Clark says seeing is believing.
“People began to think that it wouldn't happen and now that it is going, it is happening and going to happen,” Clark says. “I think that people are just walking a little bit lighter.”
The $50-million centre is slightly over budget, but the city isn't worried.
“The Canadian dollar and the price of fuel or oil now; the competitiveness of the industry, all those things are going to play a factor,” says Ray Merkley. “So the project team is comfortable with where we are at the costing estimate this stage.”
It's a huge victory for the city because it's been discussed and debated for some 15 years. Clark says it's crucial to the city's identity.
“I think it's one of those pieces of the puzzle that we've needed and deserved for a long time and haven't had, and this will put that piece into the puzzle.”
Construction could begin as early as this summer and the project itself is expected to take two years to complete.