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Fort McMurray recreational centre, largest in Canada, begins expansion project
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, September 15, 2012 5:11PM MDT
Canada’s largest community recreational centre is getting even bigger.
New ground broke Saturday for the expansion of MacDonald Island Park – a recreational, leisure and social centre in Fort McMurray.
"We're making it $127 million bigger. This facility, when it is done, is going to be unlike anything else in the country in terms of its usability, its multi-use facets and its focus on a family experience," said Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Deputy Mayor Russell Thomas.
"Today was really important because the expansion of MacDonald Island – which is already viewed across North America as an unbelievable facility – is going to take our community to another new level."
The groundbreaking ceremony was "big" as well - instead of a traditional shovel sod turning, Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake broke ground in a 40 foot excavator.
"In Fort McMurray we go large," Thomas said with a laugh.
"It was a gold bucket of a 40 foot excavator that broke ground on the project."
Construction will now begin on the $127 million expansion which includes a new outdoor performance centre, pavilion, skywalk, and interpretive trails.
The fitness, wellness and golf space at the centre will also be expanded.
Thomas said the expansion was necessary as the region's economy continues to grow.
"We’re going to continue to grow and part of that is developing a community that people love to live and play in and this is a natural evolution of that," he said.
The expansion should allow the centre to hold more major and special events and provide more recreational options during the wintertime.
The entire project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 - but Thomas said the municipality would like the expansion done in time for August 2015, when Fort McMurray hosts the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games.
An artist rendering of the expanded MacDonald Island Park in Fort McMurray. Construction is set to begin on the $127 million expansion project for the recreational, leisure and social centre.
An artist rendering of an outdoor performance centre to be built at MacDonald Island Park in Fort McMurray. It's part of a $127 million expansion project for the recreational, leisure and social centre.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held Saturday for the $127-million expansion project for MacDonald Island Park. PHOTO: Russell Thomas.