Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Beginning Design of Potential Multi-Faceted Community Centre

At our meeting last Monday, Council heard again from LeisurePlan International (the firm the Town hired last summer to develop recreational facilities market analysis, business case study, and facilities review), this time about the condition of the existing Pelham arena and options for its future use. (To see the presentation, please see the video recording by clicking here -- and view from ~minute 0:30 to ~1:20.)

LeisurePlan had Aecom Engineering review the dire conditions of the facility. Their major findings:
without proper weather protection for nearly 40 years, the concrete block, curtain walls have substantially deteriorated and need replacing;
although the Town coated it a few years ago, the roof now needs full replacement;
electrical systems are reaching the end of their useful life;
fire system is deficient – it should be at least two-zones, some fire exits are deficient;
heating systems for bleachers are starting to fail;
concrete ice-pad is in good condition, while flooring is in poor-to-fair condition;
all public use areas – from change rooms, to washrooms, to canteen, to entrances, to the upstairs hall – aren’t accessible and don’t meet current building code;
ice plant is well maintained, but uses a CFC refrigeration system, which is disallowed for new facilities and is being phased-out.

Aecom projected that the Town could spend $2.5 million to just bring existing facility to a standard where it could be used, as-is, for another 5 to 10 years.

After spending this, the Town would still have a deficient and inaccessible facility (with no improvements to public areas or the ice plant). In addition, the Town would likely face substantial additional costs in 5 - 10 years as other systems fail.

LeisurePlan suggested that Council would need to make a strategic decision very soon about “when is the best time to replace this facility.”

I asked about the suggestion that some have made for retrofitting the existing structure and adding-on either another ice pad and / or community centre features.

LeisurePlan responded that to retrofit the existing building the Town would have to tear-out so much of the facility that all we would be left with would be a concrete ice-pad and nearly 40 year-old structural-steel “bones.”

In fact, LeisurePlan suggested that alternative private or public uses that might need a clear-span would first have to replace the roof, the cladding, and all user interfaces. These are unlikely options.

Finally, LeisurePlan suggested that Haist Street is not an ideal location for a multi-faceted community centre because there may not have enough land and it would not be compatible with the existing neighbourhood.

Based on this report, on the other LeisurePlan findings, and on imminent developments, Council unanimously decided to begin the design for a potential multi-faceted community centre on the Town-owned lands in the East Fonthill area.