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St. John’s off to the races with $34M Canada Summer Games track facility

Grant Cameron
St. John’s off to the races with $34M Canada Summer Games track facility
WWW.STJOHNS.CA — St. John’s, N.L. Mayor Danny Breen was joined recently by Andrew Furey, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador; Seamus O’Regan Jr., federal minister of labour; Joanne Thompson, MP for St. John’s East; and Krista Lynn Howell, minister of municipal affairs, to announce over $34 million in joint funding for a new outdoor track and field facility and an indoor multi-purpose facility to host the 2025 Canada Summer Games.

The City of St. John’s, N.L., will be building a new, $34 million outdoor track and field facility and indoor multi-purpose building for the 2025 Canada Summer Games on properties in the Westerland Road area.

Plans call for a large running track, with a turf field in the centre for sports like soccer and football as well as an indoor high-performance training area, with administrative, multi-purpose and storage space.

The venues will be a centre of excellence for coaching, refereeing and training for amateur-level sport.

The city is currently in the Negotiable Requests for Proposals stage to identify the best contractor for the projects. Deadline for proposal submissions is Jan. 25.

The project will be a design-build venture and is expected to be awarded before the end of winter.

“This project will be the legacy piece for the 2025 Jeux du Canada Games hosted by St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador,” says Tonya Knopp, manager of facility engineering at the City of St. John’s.

The facilities are being built at three separate locations within walking distance of each other. The extent of the project boundary is still under review and will be defined once the specs of the project are finalized.

The outdoor track will be built at the Aquarena at 17 Westerland Rd. on the same site where a track was built for the 1977 Summer Games. Afterwards, the area was turned into a parking lot when the track fell into disrepair. The city is working on a plan to keep the new track operational after the Games have ended.

The new track and field will be Class II Certified under the World Athletics requirements. It will be an eight-lane, 400-metre Beynon BSS 1000 minimum-standard track with a synthetic surface.

The field area for throwing and jumping events will also be Class II Certified. The turf will be a Vertex Core-1 artificial surface and FIFA Quality Pro Certified. Seating around the track will accommodate up to 1,500 people.

Plans call for the multi-purpose building to house an indoor high-performance training space with change rooms, washrooms, administrative office space, multi-purpose space, storage space and a training area.

The building will be two storeys high, with a small penthouse on the third storey. Materials to be used for construction of the building have not yet been determined and will be finalized once the project is awarded.

The physical training area in the building will be close to 8,500 square feet. The classroom training area will be 2,000 square feet.

A centre of excellence will be built near the track for coaching, refereeing and training for amateur-level sport in Newfoundland and Labrador, creating a legacy for the Games.

The city says the building will be LEED certified.

Knopp says the facility will provide opportunity to advance amateur sport development throughout the province by providing coaching, refereeing and mentoring opportunities for athletes as well as space to train year round.

The city has not yet set a timeline for completion of the project, but with the Games about two-and-a-half years away, it hopes to have the project tendered and awarded by March 1.

While inflation and high interest rates are still concerns for the construction industry, Knopp says “the major challenges to the project are timelines to completion with the pandemic still impacting the supply chain.”

St. John’s was the sole bidder for the 2025 Games, the country’s marquee multi-sport event for amateur sport which attracts thousands of athletes. The city was named the host in 2021. It will be the third time the province has hosted the Games. Corner Brook hosted the Canada Winter Games in 1999 and St. John’s hosted the Canada Summer Games in 1977.

The city’s bid for the Games was premised on the fact it wanted to build lasting legacies for the region and province.

The governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the City of St. John’s have chipped in equal amounts for the facilities. The federal contribution is through the Canada Infrastructure Program.

St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen said the city is thrilled to host the Games and both the provincial and federal governments stepped up to the plate by cost-sharing the track and facilities.

Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. said in a statement when the country comes to St. John’s in 2025, the city will be ready.

“Our athletes will train here, they’ll compete here, and they’ll remind the world that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should never be underestimated.”

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey said a new track and field facility will be a pivotal element of the 2025 Canada Summer Games.

“Longer-term, it will invite significant social and economic benefits by helping create healthier, more active communities and improving the province’s ability to host regional and national sporting competitions.”

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