Cambridge council approves schematic design for long awaited rec complex

By Brent Cater

The next step of a long awaited recreation complex for Cambridge was approved by city council Tuesday night.

The schematic design was presented to council and approved to move forward into the detailed design phase.

Rob Allan, a partner with MJMA Architecture and Design presented to council Tuesday and explained despite the schematic design approval, the project is still in the early stages.

“We’re about 16 per cent into the project. So we’re much closer to the beginning then we are to the end.”

In terms of design drawings and graphics Allan said they company is about 25 per cent of the way through, noting most of the work developers have lies ahead.

Despite the designs approval, councillors had a lengthy discussion period outlining questions and concerns.

One of the features listed in the complexes design includes universal changerooms and washrooms.

Ward 6 Councillor Adam Cooper expressed privacy concerns over those washrooms being accessible to men and women at the same time.

“I’ve experienced a guy [getting changed] next to a girl. It’s a understatement to say it’s awkward. Are these going to be separate isolated rooms?”

Allan addressed that concern by stating the universal washrooms will have solid partitions.

Ward 5 Councillor Sheri Roberts questioned how adequate the accessible parking options in the design are.

“I understand you’ve reached the bare minimum requirement in terms of the number of spaces but, they’re all in one location. So, it’s my understanding that both the exterior pickleball and basketball courts are going to be accessible and, is there any plans to have parking in that area?”

Allan said adding additional parking to service those areas of the complex wouldn’t be an issue.

Along with the schematic designs approval, many amendments were added by councillors that include, increased accessible parking spaces, creating an enlarged first aid area near the pool, adding a dedicated nursing space accessible at all times and ensuring an adult sized change table is added in the upstairs level of the building.

Jeff Christy, vice president of infrastructure services with Colliers Project Leaders also spoke with council on the project.

He outlined the current timeline for the project which he said is set to remain on track as long as each project marker is reached.

“Contract documents were looking forward to having completed in April of 2024 which lines up nicely with an expected mobilization at the right time of year to start construction. Then ultimately moving through construction and opening to the public in September of 2026.”

Cambridge rec complex timeline

Construction timeline for Cambridge rec complex. (Sept 26th, 2023) / Colliers Project Leaders


With the schematic design now approved, the next goal is to complete the design development phase next month.

Christy also discussed the $108-million budget for the project which he said developers would like to keep in place.

He added, further design details which will be revealed through work in the near future will justify the price tag.

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