Sunday, February 22, 2015

Update on Multi-Faceted Community Centre

Over the last couple of weeks, Council approved some key recommendations of the Architectural Design Advisory Committee for the potential multi-faceted community centre.

You will recall that during 2013-14 Council worked together with LeisurePlan International and the community to develop a market analysis, business case study, and facilities review regarding arena and community centre desires.

Based on a resident survey, detailed analysis and a comparison to industry standards, Council:
• Confirmed demand for single-pad arena now, and potential for demand for twin-pad after 2023-24;
• Confirmed sustaining demand for fitness centre and activities, walking / running indoor track, multi-purpose space, and gymnasium sports / uses;
• Confirmed that the operating costs for this type of new multi-faceted community center could be covered within the net costs for the existing arena – which were $92,486 in 2013;
• Confirmed the dire condition of the existing arena and determined that a potential new community centre should be part of other imminent East Fonthill developments – Medical Centre, Retirement Home, Wellspring Cancer Support Centre, and new retail;

Council acknowledged that the construction costs for a new multi-faceted community centre will be a challenge. So, to try to make those costs affordable for municipal tax-payers, Council recognized the need for financial support from the Federal and Provincial governments and from local potential donors.

But, to achieve this, the Town needs more detailed, shovel-ready plans with tight cost estimates.

So, Council appointed a community design committee last August – with representatives from recreation user groups, youth, seniors, artists, service clubs and the community-at-large – to ensure we have the right plans for our community.

Over the last six months, the dedicated members of this Architectural Design Advisory Committee worked diligently to recommend an architect, to help develop schematic plans, and to make recommendations to Council in February.

Working together with the Committee, Council approved some improvements to the initial plan:
• Including a large, sectional multi-purpose room (~6,000 ft2), plus one multi-purpose space (~1,200 ft2);
• Clarifying that the running/walking track should be located above the perimeter of the double gymnasium and near the fitness area;
• Including an atrium / shared public space (~9,600 ft2) that would help link each of the centre’s main elements;
• Including 1,200 to 1,500 spectator seats in the first arena to support ice uses (including Junior B hockey) and other, non-ice related uses.

Based on these decisions, the Architect will now begin developing more detailed designs. Then, after they provide additional advice, the Committee discussed holding a public open house to get feedback from the broader community.

This is an exciting project for Pelham; I will continue to keep you informed about progress on the potential multi-purpose community centre.