The COVID-19 pandemic has not caused any delays in the construction of the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre (MLCC).
Bracebridge’s Mayor-elect Rick Maloney says Aquicon Construction is “on target and on plan” to finish work on the building in summer 2024. “We’ve been very fortunate that we have not been impacted on any significant extent in terms of delivery of materials,” he says, adding they have benefited from great weather as well.
He explains the town negotiated with suppliers to get a guaranteed price as well as to keep costs low. Aquicon was awarded the $59 million construction contract in Dec. 2021, but around $8 million had to be shaved off the initial estimate. Town staff originally estimated the build would cost around $45 million.
The foundation is in, he explains, and the walls that will hold the structural steel are being built now. The steel framing will be delivered by the end of Nov.
When the building opens, it will feature one arena with room for a second. “I think that at some point this community will be looking at the need for a second pad,” Maloney says. “As a growing community, we wanted to be prepared for that.”
When the town posted drone footage of the MLCC, multiple comments asked about what will happen to the old Bracebridge Memorial Arena and Bracebridge Library, which will both be moved into the MLCC when it opens. Maloney says the arena will be demolished. “There’s not too much redeeming about the old arena,” he says, adding it’s gone through its life cycle. Maloney suggests the land could be used for affordable housing.
As for the library building, Maloney says it isn’t going anywhere. “I think there is a great opportunity for it to become an archive or a museum,” he says, adding it’s also possible that a not-for-profit organization or one of Bracebridge’s departments could work out of the building. “It will continue to be prominent in municipal hands, as far as I’m concerned,” Maloney says.
No matter what is done, he assures residents they will have input. “No final decision has been made,” he adds. However, a decision will be made in advance of the MLCC opening to ensure a smooth transition.
In terms of sponsorships, Maloney says the town has received upwards of $3.5 million. He adds more naming rights sponsors will be announced at the end of the month.