CAMBRIDGE -- It took a long time to get here, but after more than five years of heated debate and location changes, plans for the Cambridge multiplex have been finalized.

It's one part of a new community hub that the city started to prepare the site for on Wednesday.

Known as Southpoint, the new hub at Dundas Street South and Branchton Road will also include two elementary schools—one each from the public and Catholic boards—as well as a new Idea Exchange branch and a new residential subdivision.

The debate around this development began back in 2015 at the Cambridge campus of Conestoga College.

At that time, the college agreed to lease the land to the city in a deal that would have allowed the city to build four ice pads along with a gym and a pool.

However, its location caused major problems with critics who said it was too far away from the city centre

That sparked protests, heated council meetings and ultimately a task force to pick a new location.

"There are a lot of sites in Cambridge but to accommodate something this big there is a certain minimum size, so that was key part of it,” said Chris Smith, member of the multiplex task force in a 2016 interview.

A total of 34 locations were identified. That list was whittled down to five, but ultimately none of those spots worked, either.

Then in 2017, a proposal was presented to put the multiplex at the Cambridge Centre Mall.

"You have it central, you have transit here, you have all the businesses here that people were concerned about,” said former Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig at the time.

Due to costs and limited space the mall didn't work out either.

Finally, in 2019, an unused patch of land in Southeast Galt checked off all the boxes and passed through council.

On Wednesday, the public got a more detailed look at the plan that includes not just a sports complex but also the library, schools and a major housing development.

The number of residents who will be moving into this area are the same as the population of Galt, Preston and Hespeler.

That subdivision will have more than 300 houses, ranging from single homes to apartment buildings. Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry said it would be like a mini town within Cambridge.

"Each of those town centres are around 20,000 to 25,000 residents. So this will virtually be like a new small town within our City of Cambridge,” she said.

The city says groundbreaking likely won’t be until 2022, but is planning to have the hub completed by 2025.

When completed, the city estimates that more than 26,000 residents will be within a 15-minute walk away from the new complex.