Are there provincial and federal grants available for this project?
There are no specific grants available to build a new recreation centre. The $13.75 million that we identified includes our Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant that we receive from the Province and our Federal Gas Tax grant that we receive from the Federal Government. There were expectations that the new Build Canada grant that was announced by the Government of Canada would allow us to access funds for this project; however, they have removed Sport and Recreation facilities from the list of projects that are allowed to access the funds. We are hopeful that there will be additional dollars found by both the provincial and federal government to contribute to this project and are currently advocating to our elected representatives on all levels to work towards that. This is why it is so important to form partnerships with regional municipalities and stakeholders like the school divisions as they may have the ability to access funding that we can’t receive on our own.
Are we planning for the future by considering the new development that the facility will bring?
The location that we have chosen is large enough to accommodate additional commercial development on site. We saw, first hand, the amount of both commercial and residential development that a facility like this brings on our tour of facilities in Saskatchewan. Council has been acutely aware of the fact that we are not building a facility to accommodate our needs today, but the needs of what our community will be in 20+ years. Thoughtful decisions in regards to where the facility will be built are critical to the success of this project as it will drive development and change our community into the future.
Is the Town exploring partnerships with Sturgeon County? Schools?
Yes, we have been working with Sturgeon County and discussing the different ways that we can work together on this project. We have also been in contact with both school divisions to discuss potential partnerships. Council is open to partnerships with any group that we feel can benefit the project.
Where will the new Arena/Multi-Use Recreation Facility be located?
Members of Council and the Town’s Administration have spent several months going through potential locations that were identified by the consultants in the feasibility study, by administration and by other interested parties. The potential choices were narrowed down from 10 to six. Administration drafted business cases for each location for Council to consider. Potential locations were further narrowed to three. Further review by Council narrowed the location to two potential sites upon which time negotiations began. At this time the Town has an offer with conditions on land that has been accepted by the seller. Although Council’s intent was to announce the location of the site, extenuating circumstances require Council to temporarily delay this announcement to avoid putting potential partnerships at risk.
Are my taxes going to go up?
In the 2015 budget deliberations Council is considering a project for the Multi-Use Recreation Facility that has an amount of $13.75 million attached to it. That amount is what the Town can raise through consolidating provincial and federal grants that can be used for this project. It isn’t a projected cost for the facility – until we know what we are building, we can’t project how much it will cost. We know it will be more than $13.75 million, but wanted to show that as our starting point. Anything that we spend above that will need to be funded through further debentures (borrowing), tax increases, sponsorships/fundraising or other potential grants that could be announced.
How am I going to have input into this project?
Council has collected a lot of public input up to this point. We’ve gathered the information received through the 2013 Regional Recreation Master Plan development, Morinville Recreation, Parks and Open Space Master Plan development which also included a Community Services Needs Assessment, the Morinville Rotary Club’s open houses, online surveys, targeted user group meetings, coffee nights, discussions at Tradeshow and the Arena/Rec Facility Open House held in April 2014.
Council has an additional opportunity to hear from the public at the Open House on December 11, 2014. At that meeting Council will also be announcing the formation of Stakeholder Advisory Groups and invite anyone from the public to be involved in those meetings that will begin in January. These groups will be important for validating existing information and compiling specific details for the various user groups. Input from the user groups will support Council in their decision-making and be used to guide the project.
Who are AODBT and what were they hired to do?
AODBT is an architectural/design firm (partnered with PacWest) that was awarded the contract through an RFP process to complete a feasibility study for this project (study is available on the Town’s website) and to do the site design. Information that was collected and reviewed during the feasibility study is looked at in detail for the specific location to provide input on servicing needs, identify restrictions that we can face (i.e. utility lines, transportation issues, etc.) and help us determine what sort of facility could fit on the site.
What is the process for awarding contracts for the design and construction of the project?
The current contract that we have with AODBT will end with the planning for the site. A RFP (request for proposals) will be sent out for a facilitator to manage the Stakeholder Advisory Group consultation process and support the Steering Committee. Additional RFPs will be sent out for an Architectural Engineer to design of the project and a Construction Manager. Representatives from the 2 firms that are awarded the design and construction contracts, along with a representative from the Town, will create the core Project Construction Team. That team will be sending out additional RFP’s for the necessary trades to undertake the construction.
Has Town Council already made the decisions on what the facility will include and look like?
No. Council has spent the last 7 months deliberating on and finalizing the location of the new facility. This task alone was a huge undertaking. Council has only just started talking about the details of the facility and what it could include. The public will have the opportunity to be further involved in the process starting at the Open House which was held on December 11, 2014.
Is the Town still planning on having the new arena open in the Fall of 2015?
Council passed a motion in December 2013 to replace the current arena and have publicly set a timeline to have the new arena open by the Fall of 2015. Council considered the current state of the arena and agreed that we did not think it was financially prudent to continue to put money into repairing a facility that was already at the end of its’ service life. In addition, research of building options identified possible construction that would allow the Town to meet such an aggressive timeline.
Fall 2015 is a target date. A target can be adjusted as the project moves along and further input and considerations are made.
What is the current state of the Ray McDonald Sports Center arena? How long can it stay open?
The arena building was re-constructed in 1965 and had an estimated life of about 50 years. The building was originally built in the 1940’s as an aircraft hangar that was used by the Department of National Defence.
Repairs were done to the roof in 2002 and 2007. In 2012, approx. $380,000 was spent in repairs including emergency roof repairs, mould removal, furnace replacement, control panel replacement and tile repairs.
In 2013, engineering firms JADA Solutions and AECOM were contracted to do an assessment on the building at a cost of approximately $20,000 combined. The engineering reports outlined several repairs that were required in order to extend the service life of the building. The repairs were estimated between $2.5 million and $4.2 million dollars and include:
•Structural repairs of the roof, columns and members (about $2M-$3.7M)
•Mold and stipple abatement that will be exposed due to construction (about $450,000)
•Leak in ice plant on the curling rink side
•A new ice plant in 8-10 years
•A new condenser in 1-5 years
•New valves in the ice plant in 1-3 years
•Renovate the dressing rooms
•Increase the seating capacity (current seating is at 232 seats)
Additionally, we know that if we extend the service life of the building by 5-10 years we will also need to consider the following:
In 2013, the Town completed general repairs and maintenance for approximately $24,000 and designed a monitoring and assessment plan with AECOM for 2014. In addition to the monitoring that was undertaken by AECOM in 2014 (approximately $8,500), two independent assessments by Rogowsky Engineering Ltd. and Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. were completed to identify necessary repairs for 2014/15 at a combined cost of approximately $8,000. Repairs currently scheduled for completion in 2014 total approximately $15,000.
At the December 15, 2014 Special Meeting of Council, Mayor and Council approved $150,000 for capital improvements on the Ray McDonald Sports Center to extend the service life of the building through to at least the end of the current ice season. More information is expected to be available by the end of January as to whether or not additional funds will be required in order to continue to extend the building's life.