Sunday, June 7, 2015

Welcoming Proposals to Operate Potential Community Centre

At our Pelham Council meeting last week, we received the March minutes of the Architectural Design Advisory Committee (ADAC). (You will recall that Council appointed ADAC last August – with representatives from recreation user groups, youth, seniors, artists, service clubs and the community-at-large – to provide advice on the design of a potential new Community Centre.)

The March minutes of the ADAC’s meetings highlighted the committee’s interest in the way in which the facility might be operated. Some members expressed concerns with the Town beginning discussions with the YMCA of Niagara to potentially operate the fitness and other components of the potential Multifaceted Community Centre. Some committee members thought that the Town should ask the private-sector to put forward proposals to operate the Centre; others suggested that the Town should operate the potential Centre ourselves.

Over the weeks since Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the YMCA to begin talks, some members of the public have also expressed similar concerns.

Council addressed these concerns at our June 1st meeting by directing staff to “explore additional means by which programs and activities within the proposed multi-faceted community centre can be delivered.”

Highlighting the importance of transparency and community involvement, Council asked staff to recommend operating solutions that “ensure and maximize effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability, all the while meeting and sustaining the needs and demands of the community.”

Council accepted Town Staff’s suggestion to develop and issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to operate components of the potential new facility. Staff will investigate service delivery options and potential operating partnerships, which may include not-for-profit, for-profit, or other public/private-partnerships.

In essence, the motion puts the memorandum of understanding between the Town of Pelham and the YMCA of Niagara to explore an operating agreement on hold.

Rather, this June 1st motion opens up the process and allows others (and including the YMCA) to put together a bid to potentially operate the new Centre.

Allowing enough time for bidders to develop and submit their proposals, and for Staff to evaluate and make a recommendation, Staff suggested the entire process could take six to eight weeks.

Finally, Council reiterated that this RFP process should in no way impact the Community Centre design timelines. The Architect hopes to present a final draft schematic design to ADAC on June 18, and Council will receive this plan and ADAC’s feedback on June 23. Then, since Council wants to ensure that you and other members of the public have a chance to review these plans, we hope you will participate in public consultations (at community events like Pelham Summerfest) in July.