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. 

Location map 

 

Media Release

Billboard marks MURC future site - May 11, 2018 

Public Input Sessions

Presentation - Multi-use Recreation Complex - May 27 and June 4, 2019 

Council meetings

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

Council reports and presentations

Council report - Award of contract for architect - May 1, 2019
Presentation - Perkins + Will presentation - May 1, 2019
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 
Hemson DC background study report -  Hemson_DC_Report.pdf Jan. 27, 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 

2019 Project Steering Committee -  Updated Project Steering Committee
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 2019.

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 and 2019, 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?

In 2014, the estimated project budget for the MURC was $31 million with a minimum annual increase of five per cent as per the Recreation Facility Needs Study. At that time, it was estimated the construction costs would continue to rise based on inflationary and market factors. The 2019 draft budget of an estimated $42 million reflects the increase from 2014 until 2021/2022 (anticipated substantial completion). 

Why has the estimated cost increased?

The estimated cost for the MURC was based on 2014 dollars. The Recreation Facility Needs Study, approved by Council in May 2014, stated that construction budget in future years should be increased to account for factors such as inflation and conditions in the construction industry. The report stated that a minimum of five per cent per year be added for budgeting purposes starting from 2014 onwards.

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.

When will it be built?

If Council approves the proposed budget, an architect team will be retained in 2019 to provide a conceptual design that meets Council, stakeholder and public interests. After the design is approved, construction is anticipated to be tendered in 2020, with substantial completion in 2021/22.

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.  

What is the cost of the library?

In 2018, Council directed staff to review, in collaboration with public input, the proposed 10,000-square-foot library within the MURC at an estimated cost of $4 to $4.5 million based on a square footage cost of $400 to $450. Once the MURC architect team is hired for the project, the team and staff will host a visioning session with stakeholders to further refine the program and size requirements for the MURC, including the library. Coming out of that there are likely to be a few options related to the library size and potential shared spaces for consideration by the Town. Only once the design is developed will there be a more accurate idea of what the portion of the entire MURC project budget is directly attributable to the Library.

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.

Why is it located in Keswick?

Growth projections for Georgina show that by 2031, the Town’s population will grow, with much of that growth occurring in Keswick. It is this growth that is supporting the need for additional facilities. Locating facilities as close as possible to the majority of users will optimize use and is more environmentally friendly by limiting travel distances.

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 buildinggeorgina@georgina.ca so we can provide you with the answer.