Labrador City announces plans for $14.5-million recreation facility

·2 min read

The Town of Labrador City announced its revised plan for a new recreation centre at its monthly council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Initially the town had hoped to build a large lifestyle centre to the tune of $35 million, but Mayor Fabian Benoit said that wasn’t possible in the current economic climate.

“We all know the situation the provincial government is in, so funding wasn’t available for a project at that level,” he told SaltWire Network after the meeting. “We looked at what we had here and really needed and decided to fill the gaps with this new plan for a community centre that will offer programming that we’re missing.”

The 15,000-square-foot facility, named the Tanya Lake Community Centre, will cost about $14.5 million, and it is hoped construction will begin by 2023. The facility will be situated near the beach and trails, and will support both outdoor and indoor activities, with the centre slated to offer things like a sound studio, a rock-climbing wall, an outdoor movie theatre, a boathouse and a youth lounge.

During the meeting, it was also announced that the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) is donating $4 million toward the project.

IOC president and CEO Clayton Walker said that, as the largest employer in the region, the company thinks it’s important to create a space to provide leisure and physical activities for all the residents in the region, not just for the employees of IOC.

“We think it’s important we’re seen as part of that process and are able to contribute,” he said in the meeting. “I think it benefits a company like ours in multiple ways. It creates an opportunity, not just for the youth, but for our current employees, our prospective employees and retirees as a place where they can go and gather and really look after their mental health and physical well-being.”

Benoit said the town is happy to have IOC on board as a funding partner, and it’s just one example of the way the company gives back to the community.

The town has about $2.4 million saved in reserves toward the project, and is waiting to hear from the provincial and federal governments about municipal infrastructure funding.

“With the election being called those kinds of things were put on pause, but we’re hoping once the election is finalized, we’ll have good news on that as well,” Benoit said. “The conversations we’ve had over the last four years with the governments said we needed to downsize and do something more achievable, and I think we’ve done that here.”

Benoit said with the combination of the IOC donation, savings and the projected government funding, it should cover the majority of the construction cost of the facility.

Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram