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New multi-sport facility to be built in Cochrane

An accessible multi-sport court facility is being facilitated by a generous donation by Project Jumpstart. The proposed site location is on the southeast perimeter of the SLS Centre.
A new multi-sport court will be built adjacent to the SLS Centre thanks to a donation from Canadian Tire's Jumpstart program.

Kids of all ages will soon enjoy a new, state-of-the-art place to play as Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program will enable the construction of a new, multi-sport court facility adjacent to the SLS Centre with ground breaking slated to start in July.

An accessible multi-sport court facility is being facilitated by a generous donation by Project Jumpstart. The proposed site location is on the southeast perimeter of the SLS Centre.

Total project cost is estimated at $1.2 million – Jumpstart is donating $500,000, and the Town of Cochrane will provide the remaining $700,000.

Earthworks and construction materials needed to mitigate unsuitable ground conditions and meet construction specifications have increased the initially proposed budget by $200,000. 

Council voted to cover the increase at the regular council meeting April 22, and as a result, the Municipal Infrastructure Reserve will currently have approximately $830,000 remaining.

Jumpstart’s stated mission is to enrich the lives of kids in need through sport and physical activity.

Coun. Patrick Wilson said the new facility will be a “great thing for Cochrane.”

“If you offer me a project that benefits the entire community like this, and it’s going to be 40 per cent funded by grant funds, I’m almost always in favour of it,” he said at a recent meeting.

Coun. Alex Reed added that Cochrane seniors will also benefit from the new sports facility, and the project represents an opportunity to leverage Town funds.

“I see the return on investment for our community as incredible,” he said.

The 14,000 square foot play area will include: high contrast coloured surfaces (for the vision impaired), shaded double wide player bench, wheelchair accessible tables, shaded accessible bleachers, accessible gates, adjustable height basketball nets, sport and para sport court lines, self-guided play area, and sport lines for basketball, tennis and ball hockey.

A geotechnical investigation revealed there is a significant amount of unsuitable fill material (alluvial gravel approximately 1.5 metres deep on average across the site) that will need to be addressed as part of the site preparation prior to court construction.

This volume of unsuitable fill presents challenges for site preparation and specifications required for construction of the court and the installation of footings to support the court shade structure.

An alternative design to reduce project costs by retaining some unsuitable fill on site has been put forth as a “value engineered solution.” The proposal includes grading the site and using unsuitable fill in low areas and retaining some material to create a topographical feature such as a berm along the perimeter of the site, which could give the courts an amphitheatre feel.

Different footing options were investigated, however due to ground conditions, concrete footings are the only viable option that meet construction specifications required to support wind loading, and prevention of frost heaving of the shade structure foundation.

As detailed in the 2024-2026 Capital budget submission for this project, costs were preliminary and would be refined once site suitability and required works were determined.


Howard May

About the Author: Howard May

Howard was a journalist with the Calgary Herald and with the Abbotsford Times in BC, where he won a BC/Yukon Community Newspaper Association award for best outdoor writing.
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