/Arena fundraising goal set at $750000

Arena fundraising goal set at $750000

The fundraising committee for the Minden Hills arena project has set the goal for its fundraising campaign at $750000.

Community services director Mark Coleman told township councillors during an Oct. 10 meeting that the committee established during the summer has met a few times and while amounts between $500000 and $1 million were discussed it was decided that $750000 was a realistic target.

According to a report from Coleman the money will be used for “value-added items that enhance the project outcomes and to potentially offset some of the financing costs of the project.”

The $13-million project which will include a new arena with NHL-sized rink six change rooms a gymnasium with elevated walking track and new office space for community services staff is scheduled to be completed before the 2020/21 ice season. The township will borrow up to $12.5 million from Infrastructure Ontario to cover the costs with any lending above $11.9 million required to come back to council table for approval.

The fundraising campaign set to be officially launched later this month will consist of a hierarchy of donor groups with names such as “community founders” “community leaders” “community builders” and so forth. Donors will be recognized on a special wall in the building’s lobby. Some fundraising ideas include “purchasing” a square metre of ice or metre of walking track room name sponsorships seat sales events such as dances and hockey games and general cash donations.

Coleman told councillors that in such
campaigns 80 per cent of donations typically come from about 20 per cent of donors.

“As a best practice within the fundraising industry it is suggested that administration and program costs do not exceed 10 per cent of funds raised or $75000 if 100 per cent of our goal is realized” Coleman’s report reads. “These expenditures would be set up as unfinanced or as a receivable to be reimbursed back to the township’s general account as donations are received.”

The costs for the donor wall and plaques are estimated at up to $20000 and Coleman recommended that this amount along with $20000 to assist with promotional materials for the fundraising campaign be provided though essentially an internal loan of $40000 from township coffers to be repaid as the fundraising campaign proceeds.

Councillor Bob Carter said it would have been preferable to see that $40000 included as part of the project budget.

While Coleman suggested that any amount of money raised in excess of the $750000 be put into a reserve for the building or general recreational purposes Carter said he’d prefer to see any additional funds used to offset the overall cost of the project something the rest of council seemed to agree to.

“September has been a big month for the project” Coleman told councillors explaining a number of tenders for provision of sub-trades had come in far above the amounts budgeted for them. The building is being constructed by Parkin Architects Ltd. and McDonald Brothers Construction who are responsible for overseeing the tendering process.

“There are three or four items that certainly dipped into the contingency” Coleman said explaining one of these items was drywalling the lowest bid for which came in $100000 more than what had been budgeted.

“That trade seems to be extremely busy in the province” Coleman said. The amounts for lighting came in $50000 above what was forecast and window glazing and flooring also came in over budget.

However Coleman said the project as a whole is not over budget at this point.

“It does not put the project over budget” he said. “We’re still on the good side of the ledger.”

The project’s contingency fund is sitting at $137000.

“What percentage of the tendering would you say is done?” Carter asked.

“I’d say about 90 per cent” Coleman replied.

Mayor Brent Devolin said there were still aspects such as landscaping where savings could be found.

“There’s opportunities yet for savings on some of those line items” Devolin said. “Earthworks was what nearly buried us out of the gate.”

Costs for the initial part of the project – the “validation phase” – essentially a series of engineering assessments exceeded the cost that had initially been approved for it. Devolin has stressed repeatedly that it’s the earliest phase of such projects with potential complications coming from underground that is often where problems occur and any unforeseen costs are accrued.