Monday, June 16, 2014

Multi-Faceted Community Centre Update

Over the last few months, Town Council has received much information regarding recreational and community centre-type needs, wants, and costs.

You will recall that the Town hired LeisurePlan International last summer to develop a market analysis and business case study. After a resident survey, detailed analysis and a comparison to industry standards, LeisurePlan recommended in January that the Town:
• replace the existing single-pad with a new arena facility within the next five years;
• design a new twin-pad facility and phase the construction – build one ice pad first (contingent on capital financing) and construct the second pad after 2023/24 (should the sustaining demand develop);
• provide a multi-purpose facility to accommodate demand for participation in fitness activities, walking/running on an indoor track, and gymnasium sports;
• provide multi-purpose program space;
• not provide an indoor pool due to lack of demand and associated costs;
(For a copy of this LeisurePlan report, please click here. For a copy of their presentation to Council, please click here.)

In April, LeisurePlan presented various options and recommended that the Town build “integrated facilities” – a multi-purpose community complex – for $22 to $27 million. (They estimated that an integrated facility would cost up to $1.1 million less in capital costs than two, stand-alone facilities.) (For a copy of this LeisurePlan report, please click here; for a copy of the LeisurePlan presentation to Council, please click here.)

In May, LeisurePlan projected net operating costs for an integrated facility at $63,715 in the first year, and declining slightly each year for the next four years. (Please click here to review a copy of the LeisurePlan report.) As a comparison, the existing Arena cost $64,366 (net) in 2011; $75,477 in 2012; and $92,486 in 2013 to operate. (Please click here for a copy of the Staff report.)

Since the estimated costs to operate a multi-faceted community centre is less than the existing arena’s operating loss, Town Staff recommended that the Town could fund the costs to operate a new integrated facility.

In essence, the recommendations say that the sustaining demand is here and if we can afford to construct a new multi-faceted community centre, we could afford to operate it.

So, how do we try to make the capital costs for a potential new community centre more “affordable” for local, municipal tax-payers? We need to fundraise and attain financial support from the Federal and Provincial governments.

To do that we will need more detailed plans (design drawings), and tighter cost estimates. We also need to decide on a location for the new facility – ie: whether we should retrofit / significantly renovate our existing arena (if there is room on that property) or whether a multi-faceted community centre should be constructed on our East Fonthill lands.

That’s why Council recently approved establishing community design committee – with representatives from potential recreation user groups, youth, seniors, artists, and service clubs. (To review the Terms of Reference for the Design Committee, please click here.) We have also short-listed four potential architectural design firms.

In July, we will consider options for a potential location(s) and will appoint design committee members. We look forward to your involvement in these decisions.