Sunday, July 5, 2015

Community Centre Design Paused & Twin-Pad Recommended

In April I provided you with a timeline for the design and possible construction of a new Multi-Faceted Community Centre in the East Fonthill area. Council recently paused that process to get more information.

You will recall that, based on a resident survey, a detailed business case analysis and a comparison to industry standards, Council confirmed that sustaining demand for a multi-faceted community centre containing a single-pad arena (with a potential second-pad after 2023), a fitness centre, walking / running indoor track, multi-purpose space, and gymnasium sports / uses existed in 2014.

So, Council appointed a citizen/user-based Architectural Design Advisory Committee (ADAC) in August 2014 to help design this type of facility.

In February 2015, Council agreed with ADAC’s recommendations of adding a large multi-purpose/ performing arts space, an atrium / shared public space, and +1,200 spectator/arena seats.

Council also agreed with ADAC’s later recommendations to 1) re-evaluate the business case for building a twin-pad arena during the initial build (instead of after 2023), and 2) tender the operation of the potential centre to the private sector.

After presenting a draft schematic design to ADAC and Council in the winter, the Architect worked with individual users via specialized consultations this spring. On June 18, ADAC approved the architect’s revised schematic design in principal.

On June 23, Council also approved this design in principal, but paused further work by the architect until Town staff provided a high-level costing evaluation of the design and until ADAC met to review the plan again. (Please click here for a copy of the latest schematic design.)

Concerned with the project’s affordability, Council also met on June 29 and directed staff to provide additional information to help determine potential capital and operating costs for the revised design, including: 1) fundraising potential; 2) grant potential from other Governments; 3) estimated operating revenue; 4) any benefit of increased assessment; 5) results of twin-pad business case re-evaluation; and 6) response to the tender for potential private-sector operation. Town Staff expects to present this information to Council over the summer.

Finally, Council received the first report on Monday – the re-evaluated business case for a potential twin-pad arena. LeisurePlan updated their 2013 projections by considering missing information and additional demand from existing arena ice-users (13-15 hours/week) and from the Pelham Panthers Junior B Team (5 hours/week). They concluded that “a second ice pad would be utilized 69%-77% during prime time” and therefore recommended that the Town “should consider the provision of a second ice pad by 2018/19.” (Please click here for a copy of the report.)

I will continue to keep you informed about progress of the potential multi-purpose community centre.