Canada Games team ready to move into ‘beautiful’ new facility

The Canada Games Park and Walker Sports and Abilities Center will open a few months later than Doug Hamilton had originally hoped.

Nonetheless, the chairman of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games board of directors – who predicted last summer that it would host its first community events in January – said his team is now preparing to move into its new House.

Hamilton said Brampton-based Aquicon Construction “has done an excellent job of managing the pandemic and supply chain issues” while building the 18,580 square meter complex over the past two years. .

But once the project reached substantial completion about three weeks ago, he said, there were additional steps needed before it could be opened to the community.

“As a group, we had to figure out the logistics of opening it and figure out the lineup,” Hamilton said. “It was really the logistics of opening the facility to the public.”

The facility, which will host the bulk of Canada Summer Games competition in August, includes a two-pad arena, 200-metre indoor track, cycling and storage pavilion, para-sports gymnasium and center combat sports.

The site also includes six competition beach volleyball courts and a 400-meter athletics track.

After completion, ownership passed to a consortium formed in May to manage and operate the facility, including partners from the Niagara Region, the towns of Thorold and St. Catharines, and Brock University.

The town of Thorold issued a license of occupancy and last week ASM Global – the same company that manages the Meridian Center in St. Catharines – was awarded the contract to manage the facility on behalf of the consortium.

In an email, ASM Global’s Jeff Dixon said the company was “delighted to have won the contract”, adding that its “No. 1 priority is hiring staff” since he recently took over. at the building.

“It’s a bit premature to set a date on expected events on the site, but we’re actively talking with community partners and user groups to sort this all out,” Dixon said.

“We plan to welcome Canada Summer Games staff to the venue soon and are excited to activate the building as quickly as possible. »

He encouraged those interested in the facility to keep an eye on the Canada Games Park’s social media accounts for updates.

Meanwhile, the Niagara 2022 team is packing up their temporary digs with plans to move in next week.

“We plan to use the second floor of the building as our team’s home base, starting next week,” Hamilton said, adding that the team has grown significantly in the years since its inception. creation.

“We have grown from a team of staff that would have started with a few people to now over 60 people.”

Hamilton said there are still some minor finishing touches to add to the building.

“Substantial completion doesn’t mean all the finishing touches are done. They are still ongoing,” he said.

“They keep staining the gym floor and they still do some of the little things. These things are still happening as we speak. They’re still sorting out the connection issues and the phone lines and that sort of thing.

“But a lot of that can still happen alongside moving in.”

Hamilton called it “brilliant” to see the installation completed.

“When you walk in, you realize it’s beautiful and will leave an incredible legacy for the community after the games,” he said.

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