By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 19 2017
A renovation of the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and Minden Hills Community Centre will not include the addition of an indoor swimming pool.
The township’s arena task force is recommending a series of upgrades to the joint facilities in a renovation that could cost as much as $6.5 million.
The task force issued a survey to residents in 2016 and hosted two public input sessions. Members also reviewed a 2014 engineering report on the facility and visited recreation facilities in a number of other small communities in Ontario including Fenelon Falls Ennismore Lakefield and North Kawartha.
Members of the task force were Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin councillors Ron Nesbitt and Lisa Schell and community members Peter Oyler Dwight Thomas and Jim Garbutt. (Devolin’s title will change to “mayor” when a bylaw is passed by council at the end of the month.)
It was determined that a completely new facility with an estimated price tag of $10 million to $12 million was outside of the township’s financial capabilities.
What is being recommended is a renovation that would include an energy-efficient ice plant lighting and HVAC system; single-sided seating; a relocation of the score keeper’s box and penalty boxes; new change rooms and repurposing of old change rooms for storage etc.; a multi-purpose gymnasium; relocation of community services department offices from the back to the front of the building; and an enlarged staff room. The current staff room holds six people.
It is expected the changes would extend the life of the building by 30 years.
The current facility is 45 years old built in 1972 and community services director Mark Coleman told councillors during an Oct. 12 committee-of-the-whole meeting that time is of the essence.
“We are on borrowed time” Coleman said. “I’ve stressed that multiple times before and I continue to stress that.”
Coleman also pointed out it was determined that construction of facilities such as a swimming pool or indoor running track was not a financial possibility for the township.
“Certainly I’m supportive of the outcome the renovation” said Devolin.
“This isn’t the end of the process” Devolin said. “This is the end of this part of the process.”
The arena task force will likely be replaced with a building task force. The township will issue a request for proposals for the project.
Devolin said he is hopeful there will be some provincial recreation funding available to help with the cost.