‘Exciting for our community’: Contractor chosen to build Wasaga’s new arena and library

The bids are in for Wasaga Beach’s twin-pad arena and library.

At a special council meeting Sept. 7, councillors accepted the bid of Aquicon Construction for $43.48 million, more than $1 million less than the construction budget set at $44.57 million.

The bid was one of five submitted from a group of companies that had already been pre-qualified to respond to the town’s request for proposals.

The total project cost is $59.9 million, which includes the cost of the property at and the municipality’s consultants.

A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 22. The project is expected to be complete by the summer of 2023.

“It’s been quite a process to get here,” said Mayor Nina Bifolchi. “This is definitely exciting for our community.”

According to the report provided to council by library chief executive officer Pamela Pal and director of recreation, events and facilities Chris Roos, Aquicon has built several similar projects for municipalities across Ontario, including London’s Bostwick Community Centre and the Sherwood Community Centre and Library in Milton.

Only Coun. Joe Belanger opposed the recommendation, saying he doesn’t believe the town should move ahead with the project without federal or provincial funding.

“I am in favour of a new library and arena, and I am certainly in favour of choosing the lowest bidder,” Belanger said.

Other councillors, however, said the project was a long time coming.

“It’s almost 20 years coming to fruition (for a new library),” Coun. David Foster said, adding the municipality’s grant writer will continue to pursue funding from the upper levels of government.

“Sometimes, if we don’t get it for project A, we get it for project B,” he said. “This is a huge step forward.”

Deputy Mayor Sylvia Bray said it is also a large investment in the community.

“We all have our fingers crossed there will be funding,” she said. “We can’t put life on hold waiting for the magic pot of money. We’ve planned our resources, we’ve budgeted for this, the tender came in under budget, which is really exciting, and I can’t wait to get this moving.”