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Selwyn orders shutdown of Electric City Sports’ outbuildings due to zoning, safety concerns

Click to play video: 'Selwyn Township orders shutdown of Electric City Sports outbuildings due to zoning, safety concerns'
Selwyn Township orders shutdown of Electric City Sports outbuildings due to zoning, safety concerns
Some sports groups are scrambling to find alternate sites after the outbuildings at the Electric City Sports site north of Peterborough were ordered shutdown. Tricia Mason has the latest – Jan 9, 2024

Some sports teams and organizations in the Peterborough, Ont., region are scrambling to find alternate training sites after some outbuildings at the area’s largest multi-sports facility were ordered to shut down last week.

Electric City Sports on Chemong Road in Selwyn Township, just north of Peterborough, boasts a number of buildings on 30 hectares of land. The main sports complex first opened in 2021 in a partnership with Hybrid Sports, a Peterborough-based health and sports rehabilitation company. The complex rebranded as Electric City Sports in the summer of 2023 with the departure of Hybrid.

The complex — once a former RONA Building Centre — was currently being renovated to welcome the Kawartha Gymnastics Club next weekend. The 5o-year-old club is relocating from its aging and cramped facility on Roger Neilson Way in Peterborough into a 14,500 square foot site at ECS.

However, on Jan. 2, Selwyn Township ordered the business to shutdown due to safety concerns in other smaller buildings on the property. The so-called “bubbles” were renovated for indoor soccer, pickleball and tennis training to accommodate sports impacted by the main building’s renovations.

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In an email to Global News, Robert Kelly, township manager of building and planning, says the township determined those buildings were being used for activities “not permitted in accordance with planning approvals and building code requirements.”

Kelly did not provide specifics on the code infractions.

Selwyn Township says these buildings on the property of Electric City Sports were being used for activities “not permitted in accordance with planning approvals and building code requirements.” The facility was using them for pickleball, tennis and soccer training. Tricia Mason/Global News Peterborough

“The property owner has indicated that they hope to establish new uses in these existing buildings, and they are aware that an application for site plan approval, zoning approval, and building approvals will be required to establish/permit new uses,” Kelly stated.

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Kelly noted that until the approvals and permits are in place, storage is the only current permitted use for those buildings.

“As the property owner pursues these new uses, the Township will work to assist the owner through the application process,” he said.

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On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Electric City Sports said the businesses declines to comment “at this time.” On its website and in emails sent to user groups last week, owner Gregory Couch outlined the closure.

He claims despite the property being zoned for sports and recreation, the buildings were deemed “not safe for this purpose.”

He says Electric City Sports has offered to make “any necessary changes” to address the township’s concerns.

“But the township refused to consider any alternative to a complete and immediate shutdown,” Couch stated. “This shutdown affects the pickleball/tennis courts and multi-sport buildings.”

“As we have a site plan application under review for our future plans for the property, the township has placed a holding provision on a portion of the property and will not allow any construction or remediation of the structures until this application is processed,” he added.

The main complex of Electric City Sports will house the Kawartha Gymnastics Club. Selwyn Township says there are no concerns with this building.

He said there is no other option but to comply with the order and cease all activities at this time. Bookings have been cancelled and users will receive refunds, expected by the end of this month.

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“This turn of events comes as a complete surprise to us, as we have been using the structures for baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and other sports for over three years without any objection or incident,” Couch stated. “We are disheartened and regret the disappointment and inconvenience this will cause to our valued members.”

The Kawartha Gymnastics Club on Tuesday declined to comment but said they aim to be operational by Jan. 19 since the main building remains open.

Couch says an update will be forthcoming once the business deals with “winding up the operations, relocating our office, and issuing refunds,” an email to users states.

“Once these tasks are completed, we will be issuing further communications regarding the future of the facility,” he stated.

— more to come

Click to play video: 'Hybrid Sports complex is ready to go'
Hybrid Sports complex is ready to go

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