KITCHENER -- The Township of Wellesley will soon be getting a new, and much-needed, recreation facility.

On Thursday, the Ontario government announced it will be contributing around $16 million to the roughly $22 million facility, that will feature an ice hockey pad, two soccer pitches, spaces for a youth drop-in centre and senior centre, a walking track, and gymnasium.

The new facility will sit on 40 acres of land at the corner of Hutchinson Road and Queens Bush Road.

The announcement was made at the Wellesley Arena and Community Centre, which the township had noted was in poor shape years ago.

Kitchener Conestoga MPP Mike Harris and Wellesley Township Mayor Joe Nowak both say they have been working together, and with many others, for the past two years on the development of a new facility.

"This funding announcement today will allow us to build a first-class recreation complex," said Nowak in a news release. "It will significantly ease the fundraising burden on our residents without putting a major strain on our taxpayer. The economic benefits to Wellesley Township are enormous and cannot be understated.”

Construction on the new recreation facility will begin in March of 2022 and is expected to open to the public in fall of 2023.

Local residents welcomed the new of the new recreation centre.

"It was a big deal, this was a million dollars and we had to raise for it," said Terry Brick, president of the Wellesley Applejacks hockey team.

"I think it's exciting that a place that big is coming to the area, I think we definitely need it, it's growing out this way," said New Hamburg resident Tami Estabrooks.

"(I'm) thrilled to hear more opportunities for us to engage in more physical fitness," said Jacqueline Chioreanu McClements, a Wellesley Township resident.