Project Background

The development of the new Cambridge Recreation Complex and the surrounding area will form an exciting new community hub in the south end of the City.

This modern, multi-purpose recreation complex will include:

  • 10 lane, 25m swimming pool and warm water leisure pool
  • 3 FIBA Gymnasiums
  • Running/walking track and fitness area
  • Multi-purpose rooms
  • Concession
  • Idea Exchange library location (Cambridge Public Library)
  • Park amenities

The facility will be located on city-owned lands, adjacent to a new public/catholic elementary school with a childcare facility. A neighbouring residential development called South Point is also underway.

The City, the Waterloo Region District School Board, Waterloo Catholic District School Board and the Idea Exchange undertook a Joint Use Campus Feasibility Study to explore and identify synergies between all partners, and evaluate various campus and facility space programs.

Council agreed with the recommended approach to locate two separate buildings on the joint site with shared amenities. The two school boards will share one facility, and the Recreation Complex and Idea Exchange will share the second facility. Both facilities will have access to community park amenity spaces. 

The future joint-use campus will offer educational, recreational and cultural activities for all ages in a rapidly developing community. The 32.5-acre campus is located north of the intersection of Dundas Street South and Branchton Road.

The Recreation Complex is expected to be completed in 2026.

For more information or to review past reports scroll down to the Documents, reports and updates section on this page. 

Updates will be posted to this web page throughout the duration of the project. To receive an email when an update is posted, click subscribe at the bottom of the page.

Photo Gallery: Recreation Complex - Joint Use Campus will appear here on the public site.
Frequently Asked Questions
 How are the change rooms set up?

Every person using the aquatics facility will be required to change their clothes in a private change room. The locker area and pool entry/exit rinse off area are a common public space, visible to all patrons. There are 34 fully private lockable change rooms in the pool locker area and 8 fully private washrooms available for use in the pool area (28 for the entire building). 

What is an individual private change room?

An individual private change room is an exclusive lockable private space for users to access to change their clothes in private.  
Why is this style of change room being implemented in the Recreation Centre? 
Providing private individual spaces for changing clothes makes it easier for families and individuals to enjoy the facilities in a more welcoming and accessible environment. 
Are the change rooms and washrooms gender-neutral? 

These spaces are inclusive of guests with disabilities, members of all gender identities, and people who are uncomfortable disrobing in front of others. These spaces can be used by all persons - regardless of gender.

For example: Two seniors of opposite genders, where one person requires mobility assistance from the other. 
How does this contribute to a more inclusive community? 

Providing individual private change rooms promotes inclusivity by providing a space where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome while accessing recreational facilities. 

What has been done to ensure my privacy?

Under this design, no one visiting this facility will be naked or required to change in front of anyone else.

These private spaces have been designed with a higher standard of privacy than found in most gender-designated washrooms and change rooms to help achieve comfort, while creating openness in adjacent areas to promote safety and visibility. The change room walls extend from the floor, up to 8 feet high. 
Are there still separate facilities for males and females in the Recreation Complex? 

The intent of the common locker area and private change rooms is to bring together families and help them enjoy time together and not be divided by gender. Everyone can access their own private changing space.

What can I wear in open spaces of the locker room?

You must be fully dressed at all times in the open spaces of locker rooms. Nudity and undergarments are not permitted in shared spaces. Patrons must use private change rooms to disrobe/undress and change their clothing. The locker area and common spaces are shared by all users of the facility. Clothing or swimsuits are required in all areas outside of the private change room and washroom stalls.

How will the change rooms be maintained for cleanliness? 

The facility will have a regular cleaning schedule and staff will be trained to maintain cleanliness in the change rooms. Users are also encouraged to follow proper hygiene practices.

Where should daycare groups or school groups change?

The change room can also be programmed so that one half of the space could be dedicated to school groups during those swim periods.

What is the purpose of the pool deck rinse area?

All public pools currently have rinse off shower areas. The pool deck rinse area is to be utilized by patrons who are using the pools - it is an opportunity to rinse before entering or after exiting the pool with your swimsuit on. Nudity is strictly prohibited here and a swimsuit must be worn.

Where do I find a change room for people with limited mobility? 
The locker room has 4 individual private change rooms to accommodate people with limited mobility. Of these spaces , 2 are barrier free change rooms and 2 are change rooms. 
What communication practices will be in place? 
There will be ample signage, guidance and information available for all patrons using the space. 

Video walk-through of washrooms and changerooms

Progress to date

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Upcoming work

  • Site Plan approval and building permit issue
  • Tender and award
  • Construction of the new recreation facility is expected to take approximately 27 months following contract award
Background Description
In 2014, the City completed a recreational facilities master plan that recommended the establishment of a large scale multipurpose sport and recreational facility to meet current and future recreational needs.

Two Council-appointed task forces were formed to advance the concept. The first task force determined, through considerable public input, what components should be included in the final design of the facility. On May 16, 2016, Council approved a concept plan for the multiplex which included the following functional programming elements:

• Aquatic complex with a 25 metre – 10 lane pool, a warm water/therapeutic pool and a leisure pool with spectator seating

• Triple gymnasium

• Fitness track

• Multi-purpose rooms and display space

• 4 (four) NHL sized ice pads (design 4 pads, construct 2 pads with spectator seating in one arena pad [phase I] and 2 additional pads at a future date [phase II]) - ice facilities have subsequently been planned at other facilities within the City and are no longer contemplated at the Recreation Complex.

In May of 2016 a second task force was established to undertake a community consultation process related to site evaluation and to present information gathered through this process. The task force comprised of 2 members of Council; 2 members of staff; and 5 members of the public and a Chamber of Commerce representative.

In October 2017, Council directed staff to explore partnership opportunities for recreation facilities. Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI 2017-56) was issued to request proposals from community organizations. In December 2017, Council directed staff to enter into discussions with Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Discussions were to explore the potential to locate recreational facilities at the Cambridge Centre. Council resolved to cancel the RFEOI 2017-56 in February of 2019 and thank Morguard REIT for their participation in this process.

In February 2019, Council directed staff to review the viability of locating recreation facilities at city-owned lands in Southeast Galt and/or the improvement of existing facilities. The Southeast Galt lands were purchased in 2007 by the City for joint development to support a new City community centre, a new branch of Idea Exchange (the Cambridge Public Library), and new schools for each of the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB). The city-owned lands encompass 32.5 acres. Provincial policy encourages the development of community hubs to co-locate services for the neighbourhood community while maximizing the use of land. When the surrounding neighbourhoods are fully developed, a forecasted population of up to 26,500 is estimated within 1.5 km of the site (about a 15 minute walking distance). The site also known as the Joint Use Campus will be accessible from Dundas Street South, Franklin Boulevard, Myers Road, the Regional South Boundary Road (under construction), and the proposed future Regional East Boundary Road.

In April and May of 2019 staff and Council provided information to the public and sought input on the project. Further, Council invited sports user groups and residents to provide their input regarding the project at two delegation nights on Monday May 13 and Tuesday May 14, 2019.

On June 18, 2019, Council decided to move ahead with a strategy to:

  • Construct a recreation complex at the city-owned lands in South Cambridge 
  • Expand and improve the Preston Memorial Auditorium to make it a twin pad facility
  • Plan for decommissioning of John Dolson Centre Pool, Karl Homuth Arena, Duncan McIntosh Arena and Dickson Arena as new or improved facilities become operational
  • Review a proposal from Buckingham Sports Properties about expanding the Cambridge Sports Park to be a four-pad facility
  • Work with municipal and other groups in the Region to explore opportunities for a 50 m pool within the Region of Waterloo

In 2020, City staff initiated a Feasibility Study with the WRDSB, WCDSB, and Idea Exchange (Cambridge Public Library) to explore opportunities to share amenities or facilities on the Joint Use Campus (city-owned lands in South Cambridge). Council approved the Feasibility Study on February 18, 2021 and directed staff to proceed with design of the one campus/two buildings model.

In May 2022, in response to construction market price volatility, Council directed staff to proceed with 2 designs of graduated value. Detailed design and cost estimates will be completed throughout the facility design process to remain on budget.

The City remains focused on ensuring an affordable solution that is in the best interest of taxpayers, sports and recreation groups, youth, and the community.

 Background Documents

Contact Information

Director of Recreation & Culture
519-623-1340 ext. 4512
Project Manager 
519-623-1340 ext. 4567