The $42-million G.H. Dawe Community Centre expansion project is now complete.
On Sunday, the City of Red Deer hosted a re-opening ceremony for the facility, which now contains two NHL-sized ice rinks, fitness and programming space, and multiple public art installations.
“This is the renewal and rebirth of a cherished asset in our community,” said Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston.
“Facilities like this are really nurturers and builders of families, individuals, culture and so on. It’s not just a building, … it’s not just bricks and mortar – it’s feelings, passion and messaging (saying) ‘You’re welcome here.’”
Barb McKee, Red Deer recreation superintendent, said accessibility was a major focus of the expansion project’s design.
“We are enjoying accessible arenas, as well as equipment on the second floor in our fitness areas that is purpose-built for people who are maybe rehabbing to injury or need to have an adapted workout,” said McKee.
“Those things coupled with new parking on the north end of the facility (and) a new bus stop make our facility that much more accessible for our community to come to enjoy.”
The north parking lot can be accessed off 67 Street. The G.H. Dawe Community Centre will be open with extended operational hours, new programs and adjusted admission fees starting Monday.
Woody’s Spray Park is expected to open this summer. The spray park is funded by local business owner Woody Paylor and is located just outside of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre.
The $42 million expansion project is funded by the Government of Canada through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program ($15.1 million), the Government of Alberta through Municipal Sustainability Initiatives ($12.6 million), and the City of Red Deer’s 2020, 2021 and 2022 capital budgets ($14.2 million).
Johnston said the city is grateful to the provincial and federal governments for financial support on this project.
Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, said on behalf of Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, that community and recreational infrastructure “play an important role” in building healthy and resilient communities.
“The completion of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre expansion project is great news for Red Deer residents, as it will increase access to recreational services and opportunities to stay active,” said Boissonnault.
“We will work with our government partners and community members across our province to turn their visions of a brighter future into a reality for all Albertans and Canadians.”
Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s minister of Municipal Affairs, said the provincial government is committed to helping build safe and sustainable communities.
“This recreation centre will not only improve the health of those who visit it, it will enhance the long-term wellbeing of the city as a whole as a social hub and economic driver for years to come,” Schulz said.