The Town of Newmarket welcomes all residents to get involved in the development of the town’s Outdoor Rink & Community Space, located at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex (RTRC). On Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. community members are invited to join a virtual presentation and public consultation to learn about the project and provide feedback.
An outdoor ice rink and community space was one of the facility development recommendations made within the Recreation Playbook, the ten year Master Plan for strategic growth of recreation facilities and programs in Newmarket, created in 2015. The need for outdoor recreation space has been clearly demonstrated during the pandemic.
“I’m a big believer that our mental and physical health are connected,” says Mayor John Taylor. “These past two years have shown us the importance of getting outdoors, the value of social interaction and the benefit of movement – the Outdoor Rink and Community Space Project will give our residents another great hub to connect and get active.”
Through the development of the Recreation Playbook, the need for an NHL-sized outdoor rink was clearly expressed by residents. At one point, the Mulock Park was considered as a location for this rink. Extensive consultation determined that the outdoor rink would require excessive tree removal, and was not the right fit for the Mulock Park site. In February 2021, Council endorsed locating the rink at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex to complement existing facilities. Building on an existing complex will provide benefits to both sites, such as shared amenities and parking, and provides an opportunity to update and activate the overall RTRC site.
The vision for the new Outdoor Rink & Community Space is to create a four-season venue for community activities. Winter programs on the site will include unstructured recreation, such as shinny hockey and public skating, while the large space will also accommodate a variety of programming opportunities throughout the year.
Design & Development Process
The project was brought to Council at the February 22, 2021 Committee of the Whole, when Council provided staff with approval to proceed with a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the architectural services specific to the construction of an outdoor ice rink on the RTRC property (Info report).
The Town noted that it was important to advance development of the amenity as soon as possible based on the closure of the Hollingsworth Arena, community growth, and increased demand for outdoor rink surfaces and unstructured outdoor recreation activities seen during the pandemic.
PLANT Architect Inc. (PLANT) and public engagement consultant, PROCESS were selected through the RFP process to lead the project’s design and development. These firms may be familiar to Newmarket residents as the team behind the Mulock Park design and public consultation.
The design phase of the project began in November 2021. Town staff and consultants have conducted a preliminary review of the RTRC property to identify and vet potential sites within the property. These sites have been evaluated for program benefits, environmental impact, aesthetics, potential cost, and with consideration to the surrounding properties.
On March 24, during the virtual public meeting, PLANT will present the proposed site on the RTRC property, share the vision for the project and seek public feedback on the overall project and how the site can be used.
Following the public meeting, detailed design will begin and continue through summer 2022. A second public meeting is planned for late summer/early fall to show the final design prior to development of tender drawings and specifications which will be prepared through the fall and winter. With Council approval, tendering is expected in early 2023, and construction for the project is expected to commence in spring 2023 with the goal for residents to use the space in early 2024.
Budget for design and project development for this, and other Recreation Playbook initiatives, has been allocated in the 2022 Capital budget. Building (construction) costs will be presented to Council during the detailed design stage.
The community has already shown considerable interest in the project, raising nearly $400,000 for the new NHL-sized outdoor rink when the project was first brought forward.
The project will be responsibly financed through a variety of streams, including grants, fundraising/donations and development charges.
The Outdoor Rink & Community Space Project advances Council’s Strategic Priorities, by developing extraordinary places and spaces and to foster social vibrancy across town.
Residents are encouraged to join the first Public Information Centre to learn about the project and site considerations, ask questions of the design team and Town staff and share feedback and ideas for how they might use the site.