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North Bay city council chooses developer for new arena


City councillors in North Bay have given the Ellis Don Corporation the ‘go-ahead’ to build the multi-million dollar arena and recreation centre project.

Mock up of new North Bay arena and community recreation centre. (City of North Bay)

For years, several councils have been debating the project that will be situated at the Steve Omischl Sports Field Complex on Lakeshore Drive.

On Tuesday night, city council voted 8-2 in favour of the project and awarded the approximately $2.6-million contract for development services to Ellis Don.

Councillors Lowery and Inch were the only two to vote against the motion.

"The approval of the contract with Ellis Don marks an important step forward in realizing our vision for a modern, inclusive community and recreation centre," Coun. Lana Mitchell, chair of infrastructure and operations said in a statement.

According to a news release from the city, the new ice pad is still in its early stages.

The contractor will focus on cost, schedule and functionality, allowing council to pick a preferred design.

Once a concept is chosen, then they can refine it to reflect cost estimates along with value engineering options.

Negotiations for a guaranteed maximum price will happen after that, followed by the completion of the design documents, which includes drawings and specifications.

The target for completion of construction is the end of December 2025.

The project is a progressive design build, meaning the developer will be giving council updates as it proceeds.

"You’re on a highway and at any point in time; you can take the off ramp and say 'I don’t want to do this anymore.' Until we actually put the shovel in the ground, we still have the ability to off ramp at any time," Coun. Tanya Vrebosch said.

"It’s just making sure that I fully understand that we’re not going to get too far into this, that people say ‘I’m too afraid and I don’t want to do it anymore.' Because another community has done that, where they spent about $30 million and said, 'It’s too much, we don’t want to do it anymore."

The city said the project will maintain the current level of recreation services within a more modernized setting while also providing an additional ice pad to augment the existing inventory.

"This new facility will not only enhance recreational opportunities but will also set a new standard for sustainability," said Coun. Justine Mallah.

The project has secured approval for $25.78 million under the Government of Canada’s Green and Inclusive Buildings program and will strive to meet the zero carbon building design standard. Top Stories

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