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Council awards recreation facility tender to The Atlas Corporation

Posted on Thursday August 18, 2016
Schematic of gymnasium in Orillia Recreation Facility

For immediate release (Aug. 18, 2016) – Council awarded the construction of the Orillia Recreation Facility at 255 West St. S. to The Atlas Corporation for $48,450,000 at its meeting on Aug. 17, 2016, and work is anticipated to begin on the site within a few weeks.

This brings the total project budget to $53,690,000, which includes construction of the building, site naturalization, all architectural fees, environmental consulting fees, furniture, fixtures and equipment, and a $2 million construction contingency.

“The people of Orillia have waited a long, long time for Council to reach this important milestone in providing much-deserved recreation services to our residents,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “Although Council was disappointed the pre-qualified general contractors were unable to provide a more competitive price, I am satisfied our decision today was financially prudent as this increase in project budget will not have a direct impact on Orillia’s tax rates now or in the future.”

The initial project budget of $50.6 million was increased by $3.09 million. External factors that appear to have impacted the tender values were the low Canadian dollar, anticipated release of federal/provincial infrastructure funding programs, and the construction bidding environment being less competitive.

Since the initial project budget was set in March 2015, direction was received to increase pool lanes and deck space in the natatorium based on community input received and to establish the Orillia Sport Council Hall of Fame. In addition, the project required a generator for the gas venting system as determined by the Risk Assessment, and wiring to enable a large portable generator to provide power to allow the facility to operate as an Emergency Evacuation Centre.

“City staff have been working diligently with the project architects over the past year-and-a-half to deliver a recreation facility that would make Council and all of Orillia proud,” said Ray Merkley, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture. “With today’s awarding of tender to The Atlas Corporation we are eager to get started on making this long-awaited project a reality.”

At the Sept. 12, 2016, Council Committee meeting, Council will review alternate pricing options for six items including the deletion of trail lighting, a pedestrian bridge over Ben’s Ditch, aquatic climbing wall, and some water features (leaving the plumbing), as well as changing from a moveable floor to a regular pool basin and changing from a hard gym wall to a curtain wall. This discussion will allow Council to examine potential cost saving options for the project.

The Orillia Recreation Facility project includes an aquatic centre (lap pool, leisure pool, and therapy pool), gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms, a walking/jogging track, preschool room, office space and a fitness centre.  

Construction of the facility will take approximately two years, with an anticipated summer 2018 opening. For more information on the recreation facility project visit

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at


Ray Merkley
Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture

Jennifer Ruff
Manager of Communications