THUNDER BAY – The Canada Games Complex is set to undergo a $3-million upgrade that includes replacing the facility’s original boilers, improvements to energy efficiency and better accessibility for all.
The federal government will cover $2.3 million of the expected cost, through its Green and Inclusive Community Building Program, while the city will be on the hook for the other $700,000.
Planning is expected to be completed this year, while the work, which could partially or completely shut the facility for an undetermined amount of time in 2023, should start next year.
Thunder Bay-Superior North Liberal MP Patty Hajdu made the announcement on Friday on behalf of Minister of Governmental Affairs, Dominic LeBlanc, saying it’s an investment that should prove beneficial to the community as a whole, not to mention the city’s bottom line.
“Institutions and organizations like the Canada Games Complex actually do more than just help people improve their own physical health and fitness. They’re places for people to meet community, to feel that social inclusion that’s very important,” Hajdu said.
“Many seniors, not only do they come here to get healthy, to stay healthy, to recover from illnesses, but also to meet with each other and do this together. Community centres like the Canada Games Complex play a really important convening role for communities as well.”
Hajdu said the facility is used by families of all socio-economic backgrounds too, which is one of the reasons the funding was approved.
Kelly Robertson, the city’s general manager of community services, said there are a number of different components to the project.
The new boilers will be more energy efficient, which will help cut heating costs at the Complex, which opened in 1981.
Accessible change rooms and washrooms will also part of the plans and upgrades to the HVAC monitoring systems will also be made.
“Any type of facility, we have a life-cycle renewal program, preventative maintenance programs. We don’t want the boilers to break down before we replace them. Just like your house, you have to replace things every now and then,” Robertson said.
“Secondly, this program is about energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is very important because of the impact of climate change.”
As for the accessibility component, Robertson said standards have changed over time and upgrades are necessary.
“We want this building to be inclusive. We want it to be accessible to everybody so they can come in and enjoy it and be healthy and be the best they can be.”