Shooting for a mid 2022 opening of the East Lambton Community Complex

    In October, a welder worked on the roof of the new community centre . It's expected to be complete in October.

    The skeleton of the much anticipated East Lambton Community Complex is already up but that didn’t stop Warwick Township officials from marking the beginning of the project which has been in the works since 2017.

    The council of the day received a report which laid bare the poor condition of the main community gathering spot – Centennial Hall. The conversations began about what could replace the hall. The plan eventually morphed to a new community hall attached to the Watford arena. It will be able to host events for more than 400 people and it will have something never anticipated at Centennial Hall – a recreational centre which will be run by the YMCA.

    Members of council, contractors, members of the building trades, community groups and staff marked the beginning of construction Friday. The outdoor ceremony featured an announcement of the first significant gift to the $2 million fundraising campaign for the $11.1 million complex. The Watford Rotary pledged $25,000 to the capital campaign which is now in the “quiet phase.”

    Construction actually began in the arena in May. Theresa Klachan, parks and recreation manager, says enough work has been completed that arena users are back in the building, although capacity is limited right now.

    Klachan says they’ll notice some changes. The foyer has been opened up to make way for space for people to sit with their electronic devices and work if they need to, skate tile has been laid throughout the building, and there is a platform for people with accessibility issues to sit and watch the game. Everything has a fresh coat of paint and Klachan says by the end October, the public washrooms will be complete.

    By the end of November or early December, the three dressing rooms will be improved and a new universal dressing room will be ready for this years’ edition of Silver Stick.

    Klachan says there have been delays in the project because of supply chain issues. The public washrooms aren’t available yet because the partitions haven’t arrived yet. And the construction of the multi-purpose room is behind schedule.

    “We were waiting for steel,” she says. “But things are moving along pretty good.” Klachan says they were hoping to open the building in the spring, but it may be in the summer instead. 

    It’s not a big issue to Mayor Jackie Rombouts. She was a councillor when the planning began for the new building and she’s excited to see the building take shape. “I think our staff are doing a fantastic job dealing with the punches and pressing forward,” she says.

    “It’s completely overwhelming and so heartwarming to see it actually coming together and to see the building starting to be framed. And yeah, it’s wonderful to be at this stage of the project, with how long we’ve been working on this. So it’s just fantastic to be able to see it come to life.”