Multi-Use Recreation Complex (MURC)

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Multi-use Recreation Complex (MURC) was approved in principle following a Recreation Facility Needs Study in 2014 that involved much research and public consultation. The MURC is anticipated to include such amenities as a lap and leisure pool, gymnasium, seniors and youth space, park, playfields and a library branch. 

The planned location is on the west side of Woodbine Avenue between Glenwoods Avenue and Ravenshoe Road. The concept plan for the facility will be developed with public and stakeholder consultation. Be sure to check this page often for project updates and how you can be involved. 

Media Release

Billboard marks MURC future site - May 11, 2018 

Council meetings

March 2, 2018 - Agenda, minutes, presentation, archived broadcast

Council reports and presentations

Council report - Award of contract for project management services - Sept. 12, 2018 

Council report - Endorsement of steering committee for Civic Centre and MURC projects - Aug. 15, 2018 

Council report -  Expression of interest results and land status update - Sept. 20, 2017 

Council report - Land assessment and project update - July 19, 2017

Council report - Land requirements - April 26, 2017 

Council report - West Park update - April 26, 2017 

Presentation - MURC update - Jan. 10, 2017 

Presentation - MURC report update - July 5, 2016

Council report - MURC update - June 15, 2016 

Council report - MURC partnership analysis update - Sept. 9, 2015 

Final report - Recreation facility needs study - May 14, 2014  

Council report - Facility needs study final report - May 14, 2014

Presentation - Recreation facility needs study - May 14, 2014

Attachments 

MURC site concept - Four hectare future sports field

MURC site concept - Four hectare Civic Centre 

MURC site concept - Ten hectare future sports field 

Questions and Answers 

What does the MURC stand for?

The M.U.R.C. is an acronym for Multi-use Recreation Complex.

Where will the MURC be located?

The planned location is on the west side of Woodbine Avenue between Glenwoods Avenue and Ravenshoe Road.

What amenities are contained within the MURC?

Potential amenities include a full gymnasium, lap and leisure pool, seniors space/room, youth space/room, library branch, park and playfields. The concept plan for the facility will be developed with public and stakeholder consultation in 2018.

Who decided what facilities would be included in the recreation complex?

In 2014, the Town conducted a Recreation Facility Needs Study. Extensive research was done which evaluated data including our socio-demographic profile, trends and best practices, facility inventory, and a utilization analysis. Public consultation was also a key component of this study with surveys, public information centres and discussions with key stakeholders including sports groups, hall boards, seniors, Council and staff. The public survey showed that 88 per cent of the respondents agreed that “The Town should consider developing a Recreation Centre in the Keswick area with components such as an indoor pool, arena, gymnasium, walking track and or community rooms. View the complete study here. Throughout 2018, the Town will work to develop the concept plan. Public consultation and stakeholder engagement will be an important part of this phase.

Why does Georgina need another library branch? Why not expand the Keswick branch?

In 2016, the Georgina Public Library Board commissioned a library services and facilities study to guide the development of the library over the next 10 years. Based on professional standards, the consultants identified a lack of 15,000 square feet of library space to meet the present and growing needs of our community. The Library Board Strategic Plan identified the requirement for a branch in the rapidly growing area of south Keswick. The library board settled on a 10,000-square-foot branch with additional space shared with the Town’s Recreation and Culture Department. The MURC project provides an opportunity to address this shortcoming in service levels.

Most new public libraries are being built as part of a community hub rather than stand-alone buildings. These designs have proved to be more cost effective to build and operate, more convenient for residents, and allow for shared space for a variety of activities. It is not feasible or cost effective to expand the existing Keswick branch and the new library will offer new library services that will complement the services offered in the north Keswick branch. The focus will be on digital literacy and community programming space. The library will also meet the need for more children’s programming space and services, which are in increasing demand.

What services will the new library branch offer?

The new library will offer the following services:

  • Children and young adult collection and programming
  • Popular adult fiction and DVD collection
  • Quiet and group study space for students of seven schools within walking distance to the new location as well as distance-learning students
  • Comfortable seating for parents waiting for their children at swimming lessons and other sports
  • Programming and performance space for library and community events
  • Meeting rooms for community groups
  • Digital skills training lab to learn new computer and research skills
  • Digital media lab including a green screen for video production and editing together with digital recording capabilities
  • MakerSpace with 3D printer and other hands-on technologies
Why don’t we just build one facility like a pool?

History has taught us that single purpose or stand-alone facilities cost more to build and operate. That’s why municipalities across Ontario are now building MURC’s. They are the most responsive and cost effective way of meeting community recreational needs.

Isn’t East Gwillimbury building a similar facility just down the road?

The Town of Georgina and East Gwillimbury have been consulting with each other on their respective plans for their new recreation facilities to ensure decisions are not made in isolation. The Town of East Gwillimbury is planning for a Health and Active Living Plaza (HALP) which will be built once their population reaches 40,000 residents.

 

Why isn’t there an ice pad included in the MURC design?

The 2014 Recreation Facility Needs Study determined that the Town has an adequate supply of ice pads in the community for our planned population. When the Town does reach a size that requires an additional ice pad, the study recommended that the Sutton arena be twinned (add another pad). Twin ice pads operate more efficiently than single pads.

How much is the MURC going to cost to build? What is the cost of the library?

In 2014, the MURC was estimated to cost $31 million to build. We know the cost of construction will continue to rise on inflationary and market factors. The construction value will be updated when we know the exact timing of when it will be built.

The Town already has $2.98 million earmarked for the library portion of the MURC project through development charges. The library board has asked the Town to find an additional
$1-1.5 million from future development charges to fund a 10,000-square-foot branch. The library board will use its capital reserves to furnish it.

How are we going to pay for the construction of this Recreation Complex?

To build the MURC (capital cost), 90 per cent of the funding for the project is provided by development charges (DC) and the remaining 10 per cent has already been set aside in the Corporate Capital/New Infrastructure Reserve. It is important to note that we do not anticipate any additional tax increases associated with the construction of the MURC. As per the Ontario Development Charges Act, both principle and interest paid on any DC-funded project, are also eligible for DC funding. As such, the MURC capital costs including the debenture costs will have no additional impact on the tax levy.

What are Development Charges?

The Development Charges Act provides municipalities with the ability to levy development charges against new growth to help pay for new infrastructure services, such as roads, water and wastewater, fire services, parks, recreation facilities and libraries.

 
When will it be built?

There are a number of steps involved before construction begins. First, there will be a conceptual design and once approved by Council, it would then need to go to a detailed design stage (the blueprint stage). The Town also needs to consider the development schedule of the subdivision phases around the MURC lands. Specifically, it will require water and sewer servicing which will be subject to the overall block development plan. Finally, Town Council will then decide when construction will begin.

Is the Town exploring options for potential partnership opportunities with the MURC?

Yes. The Town is very interested in speaking with any groups who may be interested in partnering. At the May 9, 2018 Council meeting, Council supported continuing discussions between staff and the YMCA surrounding a potential partnership. Updates on these discussions will be coming back to Council.

What about the operating costs for the MURC?

There will be new operating costs associated with the MURC similar to the way that current property taxes pay for the operation of the many parks, recreation and cultural facilities, and libraries that the Town currently offers. As part of the initial 2014 Recreational Facility Needs Study, a preliminary business plan was adopted by Council in principle, which contemplates a net operating cost of approximately $1.12 million per year. A more up-to-date business plan will be developed after further public consultation and the final Council approval of all components within the MURC facility. At this point in time, the tax levy increase relating to operating costs at the MURC can be estimated to be around one per cent.

I heard the Town is entering the conceptual design phase of the MURC. What does that mean?

We know what amenities are required for our growing community (pool, gym, senior space, youth space, library branch, park and playfields). Before we build a building that is to serve our community for more than 50 years, we want to ensure we are capturing everything needed to make these critical decisions. The conceptual design phase is all about getting things right. This will include consultation with the public and user groups, as well as careful consideration of activity trends and best practices in facility construction.

Why are we spending money designing the complex if we don’t know exactly when it will be built?

The design phase is a necessary part of the construction process which gives the Town more specific details on costing. The concept design will have a long shelf life, prepare us for funding opportunities, and ensure thorough and responsible planning for the facility.

Will the MURC create more jobs?

Yes. The Town is one of Georgina’s largest employers. The MURC will require full-time, part-time, seasonal and contract staff who are committed to serving our residents.

Will the public have an opportunity to comment on the MURC?

Yes, your feedback is a critical component of this process. Just like the public consultation process for the 2014 Recreation Facility Needs Study, a multi-faceted approach to obtain public feedback will be done. Be sure to watch for those opportunities on our corporate channels including our website, social media and the local newspaper.

I have other questions!

That’s great! If you do we think others will also. Please send your questions to communications@georgina.ca so we can provide you with the answer.