Leamington Considering Performing Arts Amphitheatre

Monday November 7th, 2016

Posted at 10:00am


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The Town of Leamington is looking to move forward with the construction of a performing arts amphitheatre at Seacliff Park.

Originally when Seacliff Park was reconstructed in 2010, a large concrete pad was installed at the base of the hill leading to the lake to act as
a future home of a performing arts amphitheatre. During the 2016 budget deliberation, a cost and scope was prepared for council, and they subsequently approved $380,000.

Community Stakeholder consultation with artists and those in the entertainment industry took place in late 2015 and early 2016.

In an administration report to council, Robert Sharon, Director of Infrastructure Services for the town says these consultations brought to light a number of shortcomings of the initial concept to build a relatively simple covering over the existing concrete pad.

“It became evident that if the objective was to build an outdoor performing arts amphitheatre that could be utilized by acts of all sizes that would practically consider performing at this venue, the design consideration needed to be expanded,” said Sharon in his report.

This included a stage raised approximately four feet from grade and adequate in size to accommodate large acts, significantly improved electrical capacity to service sound and lighting, added structural integrity to hold the weight of sound equipment, accessibility considerations due to the raised stage, increased overall size and height to accommodate the design, stage, and provide adequate clearance from stage floor to ceiling and Large concrete hard-surfaced area for spectators.

Sharon says that after the consultations, it is recommended that council do not proceed with the original plan of a covered area for the existing concrete pad with a $380,000 budget. Rather, in order to build a performance venue that will meet the needs of the community and accommodate all acts both large and small, the scope of the project should be expanded.

After the recommendations regarding the size and type of facility that should be constructed, the estimated construction cost now $1.2 million.

Council will be asked Monday evening to approve the new project and allow administration to continue to pursue the new design scope and develop a project funding recommendation for Council at the appropriate time.

Completing the design, tendering, and award of the construction project can all occur before the start of the 2017 construction season. This will permit construction to begin in the spring of 2017 and conclude prior to the 2017 Hogs for Hospice event.

The 2016 budget included $380,000. To date, approximately $40,000 has been spent on design and engineering. It will be recommended that any unspent funds for the initiative be allocated to the waterfront re-development reserve for use in 2017.

Administration has also submitted an application for a $400,000 grant from the Ontario 150 program for the project, though that funding is not certain.

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