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New rec centre won't be open in time for Ontario Winter Games

'We will not cut corners and rush the final stages of construction,' says mayor; Winter Games organizing committee has backup plans in place for events
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new sign at orillia recreation centre
The new sign outside the Orillia Recreation Centre was recently installed and is now operation. The city is "very disappointed" the new facility will not be open in time for the Ontario Winter Games. Dave Dawson/OrilliaMatters

NEWS RELEASE
CITY OF ORILLIA
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Significant progress has been made on the Orillia Recreation Centre, but the contractor has notified the City it will not be open in time for the Orillia 2020 Ontario Winter Games (Games), which runs from Feb. 27 to March 1, 2020.

Despite great efforts to push the contractor to complete the long-awaited project in time for the Games, the contractor advised it will not be ready.

Of the 27 sports involved in the Games, only three were scheduled to take place at the new facility (Artistic Swimming, Wushu, and Kick-boxing). These events will now be held at their alternate locations. A full overview of the event dates and locations will be provided at a later date. 

“We are very disappointed that we won’t be able to showcase the amazing new Orillia Recreation Centre during the Orillia 2020 Ontario Winter Games. We held out hope and greatly anticipated the facility would be ready in time for the Games, but after recent meetings with the general contractor it became apparent it would not be ready in time,” said Mayor Steve Clarke.

“The Games Organizing Committee (GOC) has back-up locations and a contingency plan in place for the three events that were scheduled to take place at the Orillia Recreation Centre, so there really is no impact to the Games,” said Jed Levene, Chair of the GOC.

The Orillia Recreation Centre is a very large, complex and intricate construction project. Delays in shipment of material have caused back-ups in being able to schedule necessary work with subcontractors.

The shortage of skilled trade workers continues to pose a challenge for the project. The City continues to do everything it can to work with the contractor to ensure the project continues to progress without sacrificing the quality of work.

“We will not cut corners and rush the final stages of construction for this once-in-lifetime project that I can assure you will be well worth the wait. The general contractor has struggled to communicate an accurate opening, so until we can get a firm date from the contractor the City is not establishing a specific opening date, but our goal is to have it open by this spring,” said Mayor Clarke.

“With a large construction project such as the recreation centre, there are so many moving parts and we are bound by the contractor and multiple trades and suppliers. As a thank you to the community for your ongoing support and patience we plan to offer free community appreciation programs and events once the facility opens,” said Ray Merkley, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Department.

The Orillia Recreation Centre program registration date of Jan. 24 is no longer applicable. Watch for Orillia Recreation Centre program information details in the Spring Made Fun Guide coming out in the Orillia Today and at City facilities.

Recruitment for positions available at the Orillia Recreation Centre is still underway with the job postings closing on Jan. 31.

Fun Pass gift certificates, which can be used towards a Fun Pass membership for the recreation centre, are still eligible and available for purchase at City Centre and online. Fun Passes will only kick-in once the facility opens.

Stay-tuned for more Behind the Scenes videos of the Orillia Recreation Centre on the City’s YouTube Channel and social media accounts.
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