Councillors with the City of Kenora may have to approve an extra $400,000 to move forward with their Central Park redevelopment project.
City councillors voted unanimously in support of rezoning Central park from an open space to residential space in March. The western half of Central Park will be developed, but the Central Community Club area and the eastern ball diamond will remain, along with green spaces.
Acting Infrastructure and Operations Manager Stace Gander’s report to councillors presented virtually on May 11 during a Committee of the Whole meeting, says the city’s underground infrastructure in the Central Park area is in need of repair.
The report states the sewer, water and stormwater infrastructure in the area is over 70 years old. Engineers did drill test holes to see if the infrastructure could be moved closer to Eighth Avenue South, but due to extensive bedrock, the infrastructure must remain in its current location.
Now, the city’s engineers are recommending the work to be done now, opposed to risking a future situation where a significant portion of the park would have to be torn up to replace the underground infrastructure long before the upgrades coming to the park would need to be replaced.
The city’s decision will be made at May 18’s Council meeting. If approved, the additional work is expected to cost the city $305,000 plus HST through the Sewer and Water Reserve fund, and $90,000 plus HST of the funds will be drawn from the Storm Sewer Reserve.
It’s currently unclear if the additional infrastructure work would lead to potential delays to the Central Park redevelopment work or the rebuilding of the Central Community Club.
Construction on the new clubhouse is currently set to begin by the end of June and it's expected to be operational by the 2021-2022 hockey season. Work includes a new outdoor rink, a new open rink area, replacement of the boards surrounding the hockey rink, paving and lining the ice surface, construction of a player bench area.
The Central Community Club project is funded by an $813,000 investment from the provincial and federal governments, announced by Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford in March, along with $100,000 from the City of Kenora and $117,000 raised by the Light Up Central Committee.
When the development of the rest of Central Park’s complete, the city says residents will be able to enjoy a new rink surface with a concrete base to allow hockey and basketball over the summer, beach volleyball areas, a second ice surface and a bocce ball area. A developer for the property hasn’t been found at this point.