Town Council proceeding slowly toward resolution on recreation facility

Presented by its Administration with a number of questions and observations concerning the proposed multi-use Recreation Facility, Town Council, at its most recent meeting, found itself in a position of having as many questions as answers.

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At its core, progress on the project is, and has been, slowed by three main concerns, all of which can be generally classified under the topic of “finances”. They are:

–  lack of a well researched cost estimate for the building.  Presently, as proposed, the facility is to have a footprint of 15,200 sq. ft. and, as of this writing, the latest cost forecast is $1.3 million. There has been mention of a basement but that was described as being negotiable.

– lack of confirmed public and private sector financial supporters/donors who, to this point in time, have not been fully solicited or have been reticent about making financial commitments without being made fully aware of anticipated costs and the resultant potential amount which might be asked of them.    

– and finally, lack of well established estimates of annual operating costs.

Out of deliberations on these concerns, there arose conversations on other matters, however brief some may have been. They include:

–  eligibility of financial contributions for tax receipts. Administration confirmed that cash donations, which should be received by year end, are eligible for tax receipts.

– without cost certainty there is the possibility of having to reduce, postpone  or eliminate future planned projects.

– lack of cost certainty is giving rise to speculation on possible tax increases.

– Administration brought to the attention of Council that Provincial regulations prohibit a Municipality from borrowing for a project that has already commenced; consequently, should borrowing be required for the project, a bylaw which authorizes said borrowing will have to be passed prior to construction.  It must be stated here however that the need for borrowing is not anticipated.

– aesthetics of the building. Given the proposed location of the facility near the Temple at the E..J. Wood property, Council must be credited with concern about the building’s exterior appearance. Exterior material, the cost of which is to be borne through fundraising is yet to be determined.  

– going forward, to provide further resources for the project, members of the previously constituted Recreation Facility Ad Hoc Committee will be asked to become involved.

– once all the pertinent, required information concerning the project has been established, it is the intention of Council to consult the public to determine their level of enthusiasm and acceptance. The manner in which that consultation is to be accomplished is yet to be determined.

This article began with mention of the subject of “finances”. It will end on that same topic.

As mentioned above, the latest cost estimate for the building is $1.3 million. A major portion of that total, $1.0 million has been allocated by the Town Council to its 2020 CY Capital Budget and will be paid for out of that budget. The balance, $300,000, will be covered by fundraising which is anticipated to play a major role in the ultimate success of the project. The Pickleball Association, an enthusiastic supporter and participant, will be charged with assuming principal responsibilities in that regard.

In its original submission to Council, Administration acknowledged that all issues which they had raised could not be resolved in the near term; accordingly, the future of the proposed Recreation Facility will be a matter of ongoing discussion.

 

William Hill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star

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