/Council to decide on value-added items for arena 
Minden Hills council will decide at the end of the month what value-added items will be included in the township's arena project. /CHAD INGRAM Staff

Council to decide on value-added items for arena 

By Chad Ingram

Minden Hills councillors will decide what value-added items the township will include in the arena project at their meeting at the end of the month.
Council had a discussion regarding these items during their June 11 committee-of-the-whole meeting. As previously reported, “value-added items” are those which were not included in the project’s base budget. Any money that might have been left over from the facility’s construction would have gone toward paying for some of these items, however, recent staff reports have indicated there will likely be no surplus on the $12.75 million project.
A list of potential value-added items – including everything from office and lobby furniture, to repainting the existing community centre portion of the building, to a projector and screen, to paving a portion of the parking lot – is worth approximately $430,000. The township has approximately $130,000 from an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant it can use for some of these costs, leaving approximately $300,000 in potential costs to the township.
In a June 11 report, chief administrative officer Lorrie Blanchard included a list of four of those items labelled as being of high importance – those being the projector and screen, paving the balance of the parking lot, murals and lobby furniture –  with those items having an approximate combined value of just more than $100,000.
“I’m not willing to put another $300,000 into what’s listed here, with a few
exceptions, and that’s what it is,” said Councillor Bob Carter. “And I would think that this arena needs to have a provision, or the possibility of having a canteen. If we’re going to be looking at making some money with this arena by having tournaments or whatever it is, that would be the time that we use that facility, the canteen, so the fact that it’s not there has got me a bit nervous.”
No money for a canteen or cooking equipment is included in the project’s budget. There was some suggestion that perhaps the township should opt for vending machines over a canteen, and Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell, who thought it was important the arena have a canteen, wondered if the equipment from the old arena might be used. There was also some suggestion that existing furniture the township owns could be used in the arena, at least at first.
Councillor Jean Neville took exception to that concept.
“We have a gorgeous building happening there, you know, multi-million dollar, and now we’re nitpicking about murals and projector screens and furniture,” Neville said. “I don’t want somebody to walk into a room and see a bunch of crappy furniture and saying, you know, this a beautiful building, why do have this derelict furniture? . . . Let’s not get so nit-picky over a few thousand dollars when this is going to be the showpiece of Minden Hills.”
Both Schell and Jennifer Hughey questioned whether some $17,000 allotted for murals was really necessary at this point, suggesting that money could be used elsewhere. Hughey also suggested the township might look to local businesses to help out, with say the donation of paving the balance of the parking lot.
Councillor Pam Sayne said she was concerned there seemed to be no money for equipment for users of the facility. “When we were debating this, one of
my issues was, were skates and equipment going to be available for people to be able to afford to use this facility,” Sayne said. “And I was told by many people, oh yes, there’ll be skates there for borrowing, similar to the one in Lindsay. That’s not even on the list.”
Sayne said councillors weren’t nitpicking by discussing value-added items,
noting they total hundreds of thousands of dollars. “That’s a lot of money,” she said.
Carter also said he couldn’t believe that window shades were not included in the budget. They are listed as value-added items on which quotes would need to be obtained.
After the lengthy conversation, Mayor Brent Devolin said councillors should take a couple of weeks to reflect on the list, and that at council’s meeting on June 25 they would make a decision on what value-added items would be
included in the project.
“I’m going to suggest that two weeks today, be prepared, at our council meeting with your number we’re going to fish or cut bait with . . . and be done with it, where we’re going to break with it,” Devolin said. “In two weeks, we decide precisely where we’re going with this, with elements and money and we’re going to move on. . . . We could do this forever, and at least that gives us time to ponder.”