Construction of a new recreation facility at Couchiching is into its third month, with opening day plans right on schedule, band officials said.
Officially named the Couchiching First Nation Recreation Centre, the two-floor, 16,000 sq. ft. building will sit across Highway 71 from the C C Complex.
It is slated to open by the end of January.
The new centre will cost about $1 million, which includes everything from labour costs to equipment, Couchiching recreation director Shawn Jourdain said.
“This community is constantly growing,” he noted. “It’ll be beneficial to them.”
Preliminary plans to build a high-end recreation facility began last spring but the groundwork was not started until the appropriate government grants had been finalized.
“It’s one of those things that came up in the community as something we needed,” band housing co-ordinator Sam Bruyere said from the site as electricians began their first full week of work to install wiring.
“You can never have too much recreation in such a physically-active community,” he added.
Once completed, the centre will feature an all-purpose gym suitable for volleyball and basketball, an elevated track around the gym for walking and running, and a weight room and change rooms.
An extra exit will lead to Couchiching’s new outdoor rink—another recent addition which is preparing for its second winter of use.
Jourdain, who also is president of the Couchiching-owned Borderland Thunder Junior ‘A’ hockey team, said the centre will offset long-term team costs by having its players work out there.
Megan Ross, recreation director for the Town of Fort Frances, said she foresees no conflict between the new centre and the Memorial Sports Centre in town.
“I think it’s great to have something else in the community. It gives people more options,” she said. “There’s definitely room for both.”
So far, Bruyere said everything has gone according to schedule.
“We haven’t heard any news on any delays. No news is good news in that case,” he remarked.