New facility named after local radio station

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The new 76,500 square foot expansion of Renfrew’s Ma-Te-way Activity Center will be renamed the myFM Center and will include a cultural center as well as several modern and accessible facilities.

Jon Pole, the Renfrew man who was introduced to radio operations before the age of 10 when his father Jamie Pole bought CKOB-AM in 1981, is thrilled with the center’s new 76,500 square foot expansion. Ma-Te-Way activities in the city will be named the myFM hub.

The young Pole, in 2004, became the co-founder of his own radio station, myFM in Renfrew.

When the newly refurbished Renfrew Center opens in early 2023, visitors and users of the multi-use recreation and cultural complex will immediately notice that the building not only has a new name, but will be a combination of reflections of its past and recognition of current and future trends that have helped define Renfrew.

The expansion has grown from concept drawings to a modern, fully accessible and energy-efficient structured complex, built with $16.1 million in funding from all three levels of government and bearing a name. The addition will combine sporting, commercial, cultural and social aspects.

The new myFM center will feature local businesses and an off-reserve Indigenous cultural centre. In addition to these new tenants, several other local businesses and organizations have pledged to provide financial support over the next ten years.

Pole, who is also president of My Broadcasting Company (MBC) and oversees the operation of 14 radio stations stretching from Pembroke to Grand Bend, said he was delighted the local radio station would eventually move into the new office. of the new installation. He said the building’s renaming is something that would never have been imagined in 2004, but today the name reflects the new complex. Both are built with the needs of the local population and relying on the strength of those who come into contact with each entity.

“When you look at the heart of the Ottawa Valley, we also have radio stations in Pembroke and Arnprior, but we started here in Renfrew,” he said. “This building is going to play a big role not only for Renfrew but for the entire Ottawa Valley that will end up here.”

The Renfrew Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Centre, Ultimate Fitness, Child’s Paradise Day Care Center and myFM will be the new commercial tenants in 2023 after moving from their current locations.

Financial partners

In addition to the $16.1 million provided by federal, provincial and municipal funding, the Town of Renfrew Recreation Department has spent the past several years seeking partnerships to reflect the interests of all parts of the region. Individual rooms and areas within the facility have been sponsored to minimize costs to local ratepayers.

These include McGrimmon Holdings who sponsor the fitness center, Dacre-based Kelly Homes are major donors to the main hall, and the town’s Recreation Fundraising Committee who are proud sponsors of the community hall. .

Other major sponsors include Ontario Power Generation (multipurpose hall), Renfrew Professional Fire Fighters Association (ice resurfacer), Renfrew Home Hardware Building Center (gymnasium), Bonnechere Excavating Inc. (rink extension) and Deslaurier Custom Cabinets Inc. (the current rink).

Throughout the construction phase, Kevin Hill, the city’s director of recreation, kept the city council informed of all construction costs and sometimes brought bad news to elected officials in terms of cost overruns. During an oral report to council in early February, he said the overrun was $794,000 over the builder’s cost, which delayed the completion date from October 2022 to December 31, 2022.

At the time, he explained that sudden inflationary costs, bad weather conditions and delays in the global supply chain were the main reasons for the delay.

“The arena part was supposed to be completed, but the cold weather made that difficult, and there were five change orders/events, which added cost to the project,” Hill said at the time. “With the new schedule provided, the ideal completion date has changed due to a number of factors and is now expected to be New Years Eve 2022.”

Since then, he has worked with the staff of Buttcon Ltd., an Ottawa company contracted to build the 76,500 square foot expansion, and was able to adjust the budget, but there will likely still be overruns.

Modern equipment

When the expansion was first debated, the main element of the structure included a second ice rink and the exclusion of an indoor aquatic center. After a series of studies and questionnaires to determine the viability of a certain type of pool, it was decided that the second rink would be the most important aspect.

When completed, the myFM center will include a National Hockey League (NHL) sized ice surface, an elevated walking track, a fitness center, a regulation size gymnasium, a dance/yoga studio, multipurpose rooms, a youth center and an administrative office; the existing center includes the current ice rink, locker rooms and the NHA/NHL Birthplace Museum.

Another issue that caused some minor rumblings in the community was the relocation of the tennis club and courts from their original 40-plus-year-old location to a separate part of the Mateway grounds near the Millennium Trail. If things go according to plan, tennis fans will play on one of six new tennis courts.

The issue of supply chain delays has forced construction to be postponed until December 31, 2022. However, Button Chairman Michael Mercier is happy with the current pace of construction.

“Obviously the wet weather was a hindrance early in the construction phase,” Mercier said. “However, we are all extremely happy with the way things are developing despite this. We just received steel from PEI, which is a big milestone in itself. »

Councilor Tom Sidney, chair of the parks and recreation committee since the first expansion designs were presented to council and the community, recognized the efforts of the recreation staff for their hard work.


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