Rec Centre undergoing extensive upgrades in Red Rock

If you build it – and upgrade it – the people will come.

In addition to ice plant repairs earlier this year, the Red Rock Recreation Centre is undergoing several other improvements, including the addition of new siding, new flooring in the Seniors’ Golden Club room, the replacement of bowling lanes, a new and improved ventilation system for the gymnasium in addition to a new floor, and increased accessibility to the building with four new accessible doors among other upgrades.

Speaking to Dougall Media, Community Development Officer Ashley Davis said these improvements were made possible thanks to funding from both the provincial and federal governments through the “community, culture, and recreation” stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastucture Program.

Davis said the township applied for funding in 2019 but faced delays due to COVID, after which JML Engineering in Thunder Bay was chosen as contract administrators/engineer consultants for the project with RML Contracting – also based out of Thunder Bay – awarded the general contract and a separate contractor working on the bowling lanes.

She said the total cost to implement these improvements is around $1.8 million.

“It’s a pretty extensive project. We’re very excited about all of the improvements that are happening – especially our bowling league,” Davis said.

Davis isn’t kidding, considering the bowling alley lanes – which are currently made of wood – are being replaced with synthetic lanes and an automatic scoring system is going to be installed, meaning no more manual scoring for league members.

Davis said there were about 10 or 11 teams in Red Rock’s bowling league last year, comprised of people from Nipigon, Red Rock, and Dorion.

From the sounds of it, synthetic material was ultimately their best choice in terms of maintenance, cost, and which contractors were available.

“We had to go with synthetic because there are very few contractors who actually work with wooden lanes anymore — that have the skillset to replace or finish them. It’s not the same process you’d see when replacing a hardwood floor,” she said.

On top of the aforementioned upgrades, repairs will be made to the concrete slab and the roof will be replaced at the Brompton Road entrance, while the arena is set to receive a new evaporative condenser, header system, and heated change rooms.

Comfort, convenience, and accessibility are all at the forefront here – including the addition of power-accessible doors at the Baker Road entrance.

Despite applying for funding in 2019, the township has had some of these improvements to the Rec Centre in the works much longer – such as the addition of new siding, which, as Davis observed, is actually a continuation of a project that began in the ‘90s.

Davis added that contractors will also be adding new lighting to the building's exterior to improve visibility at night.

“Overall, we’re hoping this project is going to increase user-ship, improve quality of life for our residents and visitors, become a more accessible facility, reduce the life cycle costs and extend the life of the Rec Centre for our community,” she said.

Davis said they anticipate the overall project being completed by the end of 2024, while the bowling lanes and automatic scoring system should be ready to go by the end of the summer.

Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,