To the Editor
Minden Hills’s upcoming decision regarding their community centre and arena can be a major turning point for the residents of Minden Hills and the residents of all of Haliburton County. They have proposed three different options for renewal or complete revision of the community centre/arena all costing millions of dollars. The decision that is made will affect the community for decades to come; greatly impacting the economy growth and well-being of Minden Hills residents and the entire county. With this huge responsibility instead fixing or building infrastructure that has met the needs of past generations the municipality and county should listen to their ratepayers and the greater community to invest in a facility that meets the needs and fosters the growth of our current and future demographic.
The municipality has created a survey that invites input from present and potential users of their facilities. In addition to asking which option people would prefer they have also asked what else people want in a facility. So far it appears that in addition to the traditional offerings the community is requesting new facility options not currently available most notably a pool. This has been a growing request from many residents in the county for years. It reflects a change in what facilities people need in order to be active and improve their well-being. This request should not be ignored.
To date the municipalities have responded that it is not affordable to build or maintain a recreation centre that includes a pool. In 2013 an independent feasibility study was done at the request of the county with the results suggesting that a pool and recreation centre was a feasible option. It is recognized that the cost of building such a facility by one municipality would be a heavy financial burden. With similar aging arenas in almost all of the county’s municipalities it seems to be an opportune time for the municipalities to come together to build a centrally located comprehensive facility.
If each municipality invested the amount being considered by Minden Hills we could have a facility that has something for everyone. The building of a centrally located facility would certainly be an unprecedented change and challenge for all of the municipalities and county. However to respect the changing recreational needs of residents and to invest in the county’s growth this has to be given genuine consideration.