A new Great Wolf Lodge planned for Cornwall is on pause until funding is approved by the province, Cornwall Mayor Justin Towndale said.
The proposed indoor water park represents a US$350-million investment and would be the first of its kind in Canada, Towndale said.
There is an existing Great Wolf Resort in Niagara Falls, but it’s owned and operated by a separate company. The Cornwall facility will be managed by Great Wolf Resorts.
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In January, U.S.-based Great Wolf Resorts announced it had entered into an agreement of purchase and sale for 40 acres of land along Hwy. 401 at the northern extension of Nick Kaneb Drive in Cornwall.
But while the initial announcement said the resort would be built within the next few years, Towndale said the project is awaiting confirmation from the province before it can proceed.
“Since the resort in Niagara is a franchise, this is their first direct investment (in Canada), so they’ve asked the province for $30 million,” explained Towndale. “(The province) seems supportive, but there’s an ask and they haven’t confirmed it yet.
“It’s one of those things that just has to be done properly. We recognize the hurdles to consider and approve prior to confirming the Great Wolf Lodge. There’s a way to do things and the right way to do business,” he continued. “We just have to go through that process, and we’re doing that patienty.”
In a recent statement to OBJ, Great Wolf Resorts said the company “still has some steps to complete before we can confirm intentions for a Great Wolf Lodge in Cornwall.”
To seal the deal, the city also has to extend the road and municipal water and sewer network to that plot of land, a project that the city has committed $15 million to completing and is currently in the design phase, said Towndale.
“The land purchased isn’t serviced yet, but we’ve committed to it. It will unlock 300 acres in the business park that will also impact other tenants,” explained Towndale. “They’re just waiting for us to complete construction right now.”
Great Wolf Resorts said the company “remains optimistic” and hopes to be “a significant contributor to the economic growth” in Eastern Ontario.
Recent estimates from Great Wolf Resorts said the Cornwall Lodge would utilize more than 2,500 construction workers to build and a staff of about 500 to operate, while attracting a half-million new visitors to the region annually.
Despite the recent roadblocks, Towndale maintained that he is excited to bring the attraction to Cornwall.
“The (construction) timeline I’m aware of would be next year or early 2025, but it’s a substantial project that will take time to complete. From our perspective, we’re ready to move forward,” he said. “We still are excited – this is a game-changer not just for Cornwall but for the region.
“We’re doing whatever we can, and doing our part of what was agreed upon to get the project to happen. We’re behind the province 100 per cent,” he said. “We’re just waiting for a puzzle piece that hasn’t come out yet.”