Aug. 25, 2020 – Norfolk County has been notified that the ALL Norfolk Community Centre project has not been nominated for federal review and approval.

Norfolk has exercised its option to return the land secured for the potential project to the seller for the original price.

Norfolk County thanks the community for its support of this project, and in particular, the members of the Recreational Facilities Advisory Board who provided advice and guidance throughout the process.

ALL Norfolk Community Centre: What you need to know


Norfolk County has applied for $36.5M in joint provincial-federal funding for a new community and recreation centre, to be known as the ALL Norfolk Community Centre. If successful, the project would represent one of the most important single investments in the community’s history.

We’ve developed this factsheet to help answer the community’s questions, and ensure everyone has access to up-to-date, accurate information about the ALL Norfolk Community Centre.


Why does Norfolk County need a new community and recreation centre?  

A number of Norfolk’s current recreational facilities are advanced in age, and would require extensive investments – at least an estimated $23M over the next 20 years – to maintain. Building a new facility would end the “Band-Aid” practice of yearly repairs.

Additionally, a new community and recreational centre would:

  • More than double swimming capacity
  • Allow Norfolk County to address programming gaps and wait-list issues
  • Allow local teams and leagues to host high-level tournaments and competitions
  • Offer operational efficiencies, as a number of amenities would be located at one site
  • Help remove barriers to accessibility currently keeping some members of the community from enjoying the benefits of recreation


What amenities will be included in the new community centre? 

Proposed plans for the facility include the following: 

  • Two NHL-sized arenas
  • An eight-lane, fifty-metre swimming pool
  • A 15,000-square-foot space for seniors
  • A community kitchen
  • An innovation centre

Other options undewr consideration include a gymnasium and an indoor soccer pitch. 


How was the site’s location chosen? 

Members of the Recreational Facilities Advisory Board developed extensive, weighted criteria used to evaluate 16 potential locations. Criteria included: 

  • Minimum size requirements
  • Capacity for future growth
  • Zoning and land use
  • Location
  • Abutting property restrictions
  • Ability to avoid using local residential streets during construction
  • Hazard restrictions
  • Land available at fair market value
  • Aesthetic value of land
  • Land ownership
  • Access to major travel corridors
  • Potential to spur economic spin-offs
  • Space available for parking
  • Proximity to County trail system
  • Availability of municipal servicing

RFAB members scored and ranked potential sites, and then recommended a short list of locations to Council, which ultimately gave staff direction on which site to secure. 


Will the ALL Norfolk Community Centre include space for seniors or other groups? 

Plans for the centre include a 15,000-square-foot space for seniors, who currently use approximately 10,000 square-feet at the outdated Simcoe Seniors Centre. This multipurpose space would also be used by the Young Theatre Players and the Norfolk Potters Guild. 

The co-location of a number of facilities under one roof also means easier access for those who currently must travel to multiple sites for programming, and the elimination of barriers to accessibility.


Will the ALL Norfolk Community Centre help Norfolk retain its youth? 

As residents of Norfolk County, we know that this is a fantastic place to live, work and play. But Norfolk currently lacks some of the amenities other growing municipalities offer – such as a world-class community and recreation centre. We’ve heard from many young people that a facility such as this would be key in their decision to stay or re-locate to Norfolk County. 

Additionally, the site’s location – adjacent to the Fanshawe College campus – will open up opportunities for young people attending the college, and foster creative partnerships between students and community members. 


How has the public been consulted throughout the planning process for the ALL Norfolk Community Centre? 

The Recreational Facilities Advisory Board is made up of citizens with diverse skill-sets from a variety of backgrounds, as well as members of Council and the Mayor. This Board provides feedback and makes recommendations to Council, which makes all final decisions regarding this project. RFAB has consulted with a variety of community members and groups, including seniors, sports teams and leagues, social services agencies and more. 

In September 2017, Norfolk County Council created a sub-committee to tour 6 urban areas of Norfolk County; Waterford, Port Dover, Port Rowan, Langton, Delhi and Simcoe, to conduct a public meeting. The purpose of the meetings was to consult and receive input from the community in each area of the County. (See details under “Background.”)



An open letter to residents of Norfolk

To the residents of Norfolk County,

As your voice on the County’s Recreational Facilities Advisory Board, we wanted to write directly to you about the ALL Norfolk Community Centre, or hub, project.

We’ve been following the discussion surrounding this project very closely, and we’ve become alarmed at the amount of misinformation circulating online, in coffee shops and in the media.

We’re concerned that this misinformation could erode the strong public support for this project – and that without this support, Norfolk could lose out on millions of dollars in much-needed provincial and federal funding.

It’s true that Norfolk County is facing an incredibly difficult financial situation. But it’s also true that taxpayers are currently on the hook for repairs and maintenance of Norfolk’s current, aging recreational facilities – to the tune of more than $20M over the next two decades.

We think that ending the practice of yearly repairs – combined with the efficiencies found by locating multiple facilities and staff at one site – makes great financial sense.

We also believe that the property at Ireland and Decou is ideally suited to the County’s needs and that was after vetting 16 possible properties in the urban sprawl of Norfolk. As members of the RFAB, we developed extensive, weighted criteria that were used to evaluate 16 potential urban locations based on Provincial and Federal requirements in the funding application.

Criteria included: minimum size requirement, zoning and land use, abutting property restrictions, access to major travel corridors, space available for parking and availability of municipal servicing with capacity for future growth. Its proximity to Fanshawe College makes it stand out from the other sights as well.

That’s why we recommended it to Council, and why we were so excited to see an agreement reached on the property.

(It’s also worth repeating that the land will be bought back from the County at the same price should provincial and federal funding for the project fall through.)

We love Norfolk, but it currently lacks some of the amenities found in other municipalities. A new hub would serve as a beacon for families looking to relocate from neighbouring areas and help to encourage our own youth to stay and deepen their roots in the community.

It would also (finally!) give our seniors a safe, permanent space to call their own.

We know that there will always be debate about projects this big and this important. And in a county that spans some 1,600 square kilometres, there’s no location for a hub that will make everyone happy.

But we think that helping more people get and stay active – and fostering the innovation and creativity sparked by a modern community centre – is worth some compromise.

And we know most of you feel that way too.

Our hope is that Norfolk receives provincial and federal funding for a hub later this year, and we can welcome everyone to a brand-new facility, to be enjoyed by ALL residents of Norfolk County.


The Recreational Facilities Advisory Board

Paul Anderson-Chair, Sue Defreyne, Kris Demeester, JJ Knott, Ian Neville and Gordon Malo



During the Regular Council meeting on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Norfolk County Council reconsidered a previous decision and carried a motion in support of the proposed multi-use recreational facility. The reconsidered motion was amended and passed. The full text can be found with the minutes as resolution 16 here.

Staff Report C.S.18-04, Recreation Facilities Council Sub-Committee Recommendations presented the recommendation of the sub-committee and Norfolk County Staff to council on January 30, 2018. The full report can be found here.

In September 2017, Norfolk County Council created a sub-committee to tour 6 urban areas of Norfolk County; Waterford, Port Dover, Port Rowan, Langton, Delhi and Simcoe, to conduct a public meeting. The purpose of the meetings was to consult and receive input from the community in each area of the County.

Specifically, the committee sought input on whether the community were in support or opposed to building a new multi-plex recreation centre in Norfolk County or if they would rather repair the existing buildings. If residents wish to build a new facility, input was requested as to location as well as what facilities they would like to include. There was a significant turnout at these meetings which resulted in quality feedback for the sub-committee and the County. The majority of residents who attended these meetings were middle-aged to elderly with few attendees being under 40 years of age.

The terms of reference for the Recreation Facilities Input Sub-Committee can be found here.

The information provided below is a very brief summary of the data received from the residents of Norfolk County in each area. It is important to remember that some Norfolk County residents and groups attended all meetings and although asked not to fill out data twice, could have an impact on the validity of our statistics. The information contained in this report is meant to be a quick overview of the general consensus and is based from the minutes of the meeting and the paper surveys.


Waterford, September 18, 2017 & September 28, 2017


County staff had originally scheduled the public meeting at the Waterford Arena in the meeting room on September 18. There was a greater than anticipated turnout and staff quickly discovered the meeting room was not big enough once the meeting started. The meeting was rescheduled for September 28 at the Waterford Public school. At this meeting we had approximately 68 attendees, 43 of which completed a written survey. The majority of residents who attended the meeting in Waterford were very positive, and favorable to building a multi-plex facility. As a few residents wanted to see Norfolk County invest in Waterford, the majority of residents believed that building the multi-plex in Simcoe would be most beneficial to the County as a whole. A large portion of the residents at this meeting were concerned about the well-being of the pool and wish to see a new, bigger pool built with better air quality and more facility usage time.

Info gathered from the paper surveys regarding recreational facilities:

How would you prefer to address this issue?

Repair: 2

Build New: 35

It has been recommended that a multi-use recreation facility be located in Simcoe. Where would you suggest this facility be located?

Downtown Simcoe: 6

Simcoe – outside of downtown: 30

Other: 3

Full Minutes Here



Port Dover, September 25, 2017


Our next meeting led us to Port Dover where we had approximately 81 attendees, 54 of whom filled out the surveys. The atmosphere of this meeting was also a very positive feeling with the majority of residents wishing to see a new multi-plex facility built in the Simcoe area. A major concern for the residents of Port Dover is a new senior centre as they feel the one that we currently have in Norfolk is not up to standard and lacks accessibility. Another reoccurring topic was that residents wish to see an indoor walking track located in the multi-plex facility as well as a new pool.

Info gathered from the paper surveys regarding recreational facilities:

How would you prefer to address this issue?

Repair: 4

Build New: 46

Downtown Simcoe: 5

It has been recommended that a multi-use recreation facility be located in Simcoe. Where would you suggest this facility be located?

Simcoe – outside of downtown: 35

Other: 10

Full Minutes Here



Port Rowan, October 23, 2017


Port Rowan had approximately 51 attendees with 19 residents completing the survey. There were some conflicting opinions at the meeting in Port Rowan. A portion of residents at the meeting felt Norfolk County needs to invest in their area by putting recreational facilities in the west end of Norfolk County. There was also a portion of residents who feel a multi-plex facility is needed in Norfolk County and that the west end of Simcoe would be the best location for it. The residents of Port Rowan are not in favor of a multi-plex facility being built near Fanshawe College. The citizens of Port Rowan were concerned about where the money will be coming from and how much funding we can receive. Another concern for the Port Rowan residents was if a multi-plex were to be built in Simcoe, how would seniors form outside communities get there? Would Norfolk expand Ride Norfolk?

Info gathered from the paper surveys regarding recreational facilities:

How would you prefer to address this issue?

Repair: 9

Build New: 8

It has been recommended that a multi-use recreation facility be located in Simcoe. Where would you suggest this facility be located?

Downtown Simcoe: 6

Simcoe – outside of downtown: 5

Other: 5

Full Minutes Here



Langton, October 30, 2017


Langton was the fourth area Council visited with approximately 65 attendees, 44 of whom completed surveys. A reoccurring concern in Langton is the well-being of their facilities. If a multi-plex is built in Simcoe, a large portion of the residents of Langton are worried they will lose their arena. The residents that were in support of a multi-plex being built would like it to be built on the west end of Simcoe, closer to the centre of Norfolk County. A portion of the citizens at the meeting were frustrated as they feel their tax dollars are always being spent in Simcoe and would like more investment in the smaller communities.

Info gathered from the paper surveys regarding recreational facilities:

How would you prefer to address this issue?

Repair: 25

Build New: 7

It has been recommended that a multi-use recreation facility be located in Simcoe. Where would you suggest this facility be located?

Downtown Simcoe: 5

Simcoe – outside of downtown: 13

Other: 17

Full Minutes Here



Delhi, November 6, 2017


The fifth meeting took place in Delhi with approximately 43 attendees, 25 of whom completed surveys. A large portion of the residents who attended this meeting were concerned about the facilities in their end of the County and would like more facilities built in Delhi. The residents feel there is a lack of indoor gymnasium space in the west end of Norfolk County and wish to see something built to facilitate indoor users. A supported suggestion was to build a second gym at the Highschool. The pool at the Annelise Carr Aquatics Centre was also a reoccurring concern in Delhi. They wish to have a new pool built as fixing the existing one would cost too much. The majority of citizens wish to see this pool built in Delhi or the west end of Simcoe.

Info gathered from the paper surveys regarding recreational facilities:

How would you prefer to address this issue?

Repair: 10

Build New: 13

It has been recommended that a multi-use recreation facility be located in Simcoe. Where would you suggest this facility be located?

Downtown Simcoe: 3

Simcoe – outside of downtown: 7

Other: 10

Full Minutes Here


Simcoe, November 13, 2017


The last meeting took place at the Royal Canadian Legion in Simcoe with approximately, 120 attendees with 67 surveys being completed. The majorities of the attendees at this meeting believe a multiplex is required for Norfolk County and would like it to be built in Simcoe. There was a difference in opinion on where in Simcoe it should be located as 23 residents believe it should be located downtown and 30 residents believe it needs to be on the outside of Simcoe with only 4 choosing to put it anywhere else. A trending concern for a lot of attendees was the senior centre as the current facility is not sufficient.

Info gathered from the paper surveys regarding recreational facilities:

How would you prefer to address this issue?

Repair: 13

Build New: 48

It has been recommended that a multi-use recreation facility be located in Simcoe. Where would you suggest this facility be located?

Downtown Simcoe: 23

Simcoe – outside of downtown: 30

Other: 4

Full Minutes Here


November 30 & December 11, 2017

The committee members reconvened twice to discuss and deliberate on the results of the community consultation meetings. The result was the following committee recommendation to council passed as a resolution December 11, 2017:

  1. (Black/Luke)
    THAT Staff undertake to draft a Report to Council on January 30, 2018 to consolidate Sub-Committee recommendations, public information, recreation master plan, advise of next steps, and recommend what staff is able to do internally and what staff will need to seek external expertise for.


Full Minutes – November 30, 2017

Full Minutes – December 11, 2017


Fast Facts
  • Norfolk County is seeking $36.5M in funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program for the ALL Norfolk Community Centre
  • This facility would replace a number of aging, inefficient County facilities that have become cost-prohibitive to maintain, including Talbot Gardens and the Simcoe Recreation Centre
  • The facility would be located at the corner of Ireland Road and Decou Road, only 3km from downtown Simcoe and 1km from Fanshawe College
  • Proposed amenities include a walking track, two NHL-sized arenas, an eight-lane, fifty-metre swimming pool, a community kitchen, and an innovation centre
  • Seniors – who currently use approximately 10,000 square-feet of poorly-laid-out space at Simcoe’s Adult Community Centre – would have access to more than 15,000 square feet of space
  • Updated facilities would allow area teams and leagues to host high-level, competitive competitions and tournaments 
  • In 2018, Norfolk County saw 76,000 registrations for recreational programming and another 44,000 for drop-in programming
  • The Annaleise Carr Aquatic Centre hosts 69,000 swimmers each year, or approximately 300 per operating day. It was designed to accommodate 100 per day
  • The current Seniors Centre receives 35,500 visits per year from its nearly 500 members



ALL Norfolk Community Centre Application

In November of 2019 Norfolk County Council submitted the ALL Norfolk Hub application to the Community, Culture, and Recreation stream of the Investing in Canadian Infrastructure Program (ICIP). This grant application is still active and pending decision.

On January 22, 2020 Norfolk County Council directed that aspects of the application be publicly released. A comprehensive review has been undertaken with the intent of releasing as much information publicly as possible while preserving the privacy of members of the public that submitted letters of endorsement. Attached to this memo are 86 pages that fulfill Council’s continued desire for transparency.

It is important to note that grant applications are technical documents. The information and formatting of such applications is not intended for transmitting information to the public.

ALL Norfolk Community Centre Application



Meet the Recreational Facilities Advisory Board


Paul Anderson


A retired Air Force pilot, Paul works for the Department of National Defence as CC-130J Super Hercules Operational Requirements Manager. He was a competitive swimmer from Brantford and the University of Toronto and is now a Swim Ontario official and parent of three Norfolk Hammerhead Aquatic Club swimmers.



Kristal Chopp

Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp is an airline pilot with degrees in business engineering and law.

A Port Dover resident, Chopp was elected in October of 2018 and officially took office in early December.


Sue Defreyne

As a vice-principal in the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board (BHNCDSB), Sue joined RFAB to give back to the community that has provided her family with many opportunities for the past 27 years.

She’s been a recreational athlete, parent of multi-sport athletes, teacher utilizing many different Norfolk facilities, a soccer/baseball/basketball coach and held a variety of executive roles including athletic director for the BHNCSB, Simcoe Minor Baseball, and others. The mother of three has travelled across Ontario visiting a variety of facilities from hockey arenas, multi-use gymnasiums, both indoor and outdoor tracks, swimming pools and multi-generational community centres.

“The All Norfolk Community Hub will play an integral part in providing quality programming and services for the physical and social well-being of all Norfolk County,” Defreyne said. “It will also provide opportunities to attract young families and keep them in our community.”


Kris Demeester


Kim Huffman

Waterford’s Kim Huffman has a background in social services and is a driving force behind the Waterford Farmers Market. Her family has been involved in the local sports scene for many years.

She believes the community hub will add to Norfolk’s economy, health, and wellness, the retention of youth and the potential opportunity for post-secondary growth in our county.


John J. Knot


John J. (JJ) Knott is a subject matter resource person in the field of facility management and building energy solutions, specializing in healthcare. JJ brings a range of best practice opportunities developed from over 35 years of experience in operating facilities and consulting for improved energy practices.

J.J.’s main interest is to ensure that the facility is designed and built to the highest standards and that built-in energy solutions are effective and have significant return on investment now and well into the future. JJ will work to assist the team with the development of recommendations for the operation and maintenance of the proposed facilities, and the related energy components. JJ is also concerned about finding innovative ways to re-purpose any existing County facilities that are made redundant as a result of proposed new facility construction.

J.J.’s interest in a hub type facility for Norfolk is deeply rooted in the early days of Norfolk County’s re-establishment as the municipal government. It is based on a belief that Norfolk needs a place for the community to come together, not just through sports but through activities that represent all facets of Norfolk life and culture.

J.J. is a Certified Engineering Technologist, a Certified Energy Manager, a Certified Canadian healthcare facility manager, and a Certified RETScreen Expert. He also brings to the table experience and knowledge in large construction project management, project design and specification writing, and corporate board experience. He also played a role in the sale of Norfolk Power Inc. which led to the creation of the Norfolk County Legacy Fund.

J.J. is Past President and a life member of the Simcoe Kinsmen Club, past president of the Who Did It Club, and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #79. He is also a volunteer for the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover.


Gordon Malo

Gordon graduated from the University of Waterloo with a masters in accounting and obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant’s designation in 2000 and his Chartered Business Valuator’s designation in 2009. Gordon worked at a national accounting firm in Toronto and subsequently provided independent income tax consulting services to a major automotive manufacturer before returning to his hometown of Simcoe to offer his unique skill set to local businesses and families.
Gordon is regularly engaged in providing corporate tax planning, corporate reorganizations, business valuations, business and succession plans, and consulting projects to assist with the development of unique local industries. While these projects are often technical in nature, Gordon’s focus and priority is on his clients, ensuring that the solutions developed are fully understood and carefully crafted to satisfy their business and personal goals.

Away from the office, Gordon enjoys being active in the community through the Simcoe Lions Club, as a director with the Simcoe & District Minor Hockey Association, and through various other sports and community projects. Gordon lives in Simcoe with his wife Becky and children Kaitlyn, Eileen and Michael.


Amy Martin

When she’s not in council, Amy Martin is the lead planner at a local firm focusing on weddings and special events. She also serves as the community outreach and fundraising coordinator for the Grand Erie Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. She has also been a continuing education instructor at Fanshawe College’s Simcoe Campus and helped organized Blood, Sweat, and Cheers – a local fitness fundraiser serving Port Dover’s elementary schools.


Ian Neville

Ian is a professional engineer with a master’s degree in public administration. After retiring as Commissioner of Public Works from the Regional Municipality of Niagara, he incorporated his own consulting firm. He is also a former director and president of both the Ontario (OPWA) and the Canadian (CPWA) Public Works Associations.

“As a new resident to Norfolk County I wanted to share the knowledge and experience I gained from a lifelong professional career which involved many similar processes to the Norfolk HUB, and hopefully help turn a long-term dream into a reality,” Neville says.

He hopes the facility will encompass several high-demand facilities and replace several aging facilities in Norfolk.

“The Norfolk HUB will also have a value to the community that transcends the annual dollars invested or the revenues gained from fees,” he adds. “Hubs provide a sense of public pride and increased cohesion for both the community and people of all ages to participate in community activities.  By investing in a multi-use recreational/community facility Norfolk County will be creating opportunities to enhance the well-being of all county residents, improve the local economy, conserve the natural environment and strengthen the community.”


Ian Rabbits


Ian is a Norfolk County Ward 5 Councillor and human resources specialist with Toyotetsu Canada Inc.

Ian wished to join what he calls the “largest undertaking in Norfolk County’s history”, a task that will require expert planning and execution.
“Norfolk County residents want a safe community to raise their children and grow old,” Ian adds. “Taxpayers want an efficient use of resources and a greater return on their investments. Norfolk County residents desire a public space that is accessible to everyone regardless of their age or ability. An improved aquatics centre, ice pad, and seniors space will replace aged infrastructure and will allow for opportunities in the commercial sphere that are yet to come. A recreation and leisure centre is a key component in any community, and this hub concept will ultimately bring Norfolk County closer together.



Ryan Taylor

With a degree from the University of Guelph in political science as well as an opticianry diploma from Georgian College, Ryan Taylor returned to his hometown of Simcoe to work at the family-owned optical business.

During his time at Simcoe Composite School, Taylor was a member of the Sabres basketball teams. At 25, he became the youngest Norfolk County councillor ever.




Letters of support

In order to demonstrate local support for the ALL Norfolk Community Centre project, Mayor Chopp has reached out to local stakeholders who might be willing to write letters in support of Norfolk County’s provincial-federal funding application. The text of the letter can be found below. 


Recreational Facilities Advisory Board agendas and minutes

The Recreation Facilities Advisory Board (RFAB) provides leadership and advice to County Council with respect to the development of a multi-use recreation facility. The meetings of RFAB occur on a monthly basis or when called by the chair; the meetings are posted on the meeting calendar. The meetings are regularly scheduled for the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm.

Terms of Reference

October 1, 2018
January 14, 2019
February 11, 2019
February 26, 2019
March 18, 2019
March 25, 2019
April 1, 2019
May 6, 2019
June 3, 2019
July 24, 2019
August 26, 2019
September 6, 2019
September 30, 2019
October 10, 2019
October 15, 2019
November 4, 2019
December 2, 2019
January 13, 2020
February 3, 2020
March 9, 2020
September 14, 2020
November 2, 2020


Related staff reports




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