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Dorset Recreation Centre

Due to ongoing construction and plumbing work at the Dorset Recreation Centre, the public water refill station located beside the centre may be intermittently unavailable to the public. The Township will do its utmost to ensure these interruptions in service are as brief as possible. Thank you to residents for their patience and understanding as we move toward completion of this important project.

May 2, 2024

Substantial concrete work is taking place in front of the Dorset Recreation Centre, as the facility's new covered entry and accessible walkway begin to take form! The DRC Rehabilitation Project is drawing closer to completion. 

Painting is finished throughout the building's interior, and new LED lighting has been installed throughout the centre. New walls, flooring, electrical and plumbing and components are complete. There is a new ventilation system and ductwork, and new washrooms and lobby area are nearly finished. 

An exciting addition to the project is the return of the Haliburton County Public Library, which will have a new, dedicated space on the building's lower floor. 

Mold has been remediated from the centre, with air-testing showing favourable results. Following excavation work around the DRC's periphery, sub-contractors performed waterproofing on the facility's foundation walls. Backfilling and grading has also been performed around the building. 

The Township is planning a grand re-opening celebration for Saturday, July 27, and we hope residents will make plans to attend! If possible, a soft opening will take place ahead of this date so that residents can resume use of the facility as soon as possible. 


The Gonneau Group is completing the required work at the site. During a May 18 meeting, Travis Wilson of Engage Engineering Ltd., a firm retained by the Township to assist with the project, told members of Council a proposal from the Gonneau Group was very thorough, and that the company had completed similar projects in the area previously. Five companies pre-qualified to make bids on the job, with a single bid received by the Gonneau Group. 

During a December 8, 2022 meeting, Council chose a design-and-build model for the rehabilitation project at the rec centre. A report from that Council meeting can be found here.  Discussion on the project is a standing item on the agendas for meetings of Algonquin Highlands Council. 

We know the closure of the Dorset Recreation Centre has been frustrating and that the facility is a vital and well-loved asset. We all look forward to the project's completion. Continue to watch this space for ongoing updates and timelines. 

The Township of Algonquin Highlands has hired a project manager, and part of the role of this staff member is overseeing the work at the centre. 

The discovery of issues at the DRC came in 2021 during a small-scale removal of a moisture-damaged area in the downstairs bathroom, and further investigation found the issue was widespread. The Township undertook a professional assessment to provide recommendations and cost estimates to repair the problem areas. As well as addressing insulation and waterproofing, pandemic-related provincial direction on ventilation requires improvements, with overall estimated costs of some $900,000.

To help alleviate the costs, the Township applied to the Ontario Trillium Fund for the mold/moisture related issue, a process which took four months. Unfortunately, that application was unsuccessful, so Council directed the costs be included in the 2022 municipal budget, specifically from Reserves. Luckily, the ventilation portion of the project has successfully received $100,000 in funding from the separate Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Grant fund.

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