The chair of Charlottetown's parks and recreation committee says he's cautiously optimistic the new $33-million Simmons Sport Centre will indeed open in October of 2024, the latest date given by the city last month.
"I emphasize the word 'cautiously,'" said Coun. Mitch Tweel.
"That facility is going to be there for the next 50 years. That is a major investment and it's important that we get it right and I believe we've gotten it right."
Tweel gave an update on the sports centre during a council meeting Tuesday. It was originally scheduled to open last month, but the city said that had to be delayed due to lingering supply-chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Construction continues on the new Simmons Sport Centre while the existing arena remains in use. (Tony Davis/CBC)
Tweel said the project is expected to remain on the new schedule, although he noted that construction costs have gone up due to inflation.
Because it will be energy-efficient, the city has been able to tap into federal and provincial grants to help with the cost, which was originally estimated at about $25 million but is now set to come in about 30 per cent higher than that.
The centre will feature a new NHL-sized ice surface, shown in this rendering. (City of Charlottetown)
The new sports centre will include an NHL-sized ice surface with six dressing rooms, an outdoor six-lane swimming pool with three separate change rooms, a large multi-purpose room, and a two-lane walking track on the second floor.
"Our senior citizens in particular are really going to be excited and be able to take advantage of walking indoors during the winter months where it's going to be much safer," Tweel said.
The new centre will replace the existing Simmons Sport Centre, which is more than 50 years old and still in use while the new facility is being built beside it.
A rendering shows what the new outdoor pool will look like. (City of Charlottetown)
The old building, located on North River Road between Colonel Gray High School and Queen Charlotte Intermediate, will be demolished eventually.
Tweel said the new arena complex should provide a blueprint for future projects.
"I think the time is going to come when we need to replace Cody Banks Arena and I would like to see duplication with what we're going to experience here with Simmons."