Brock Township council is moving forward with plans to apply for a grant to help finance the expansion of the Sunderland Memorial Arena despite a $3-million increase in the estimated cost.
A comprehensive report from Works Director Nick Colucci that was included on the agenda for Monday (April 8) meeting of the parks and recreation committee noted that cost of the project had increased to $6.9-million.
Proposed by the village’s Lions Club, which has offered up $500,000 for the project, the renovations were previously estimated at $3.9 million.
The estimate includes an expansion of the Ice surface to a size of 200-feet by 80-feet, new boards and glass, two new accessible changerooms, four new changerooms, additional storage rooms, upgrades to the refrigeration system and renovations to the front lobby and washrooms.
It also includes more than $1.8 million worth of improvements to the building shell.
“We are all surprised or concerned where we’re sitting with the price,” said Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden.
She brought forward a motion directing staff to proceed with a grant application, which are expected to be accepted this fall.
“We need to make sure that when the Province announces funding, we are ready to go with this…If we do any back-pedaling, I’m going to argue with you all night,” Mayor Bath-Hadden told her colleagues.
Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell noted that a grant from the provincial and federal governments could cover up to 73 percent of the project cost.
Revenue from development charges, coupled with the donation from the Lions Club, could be utilized to cover a great deal of the municipal share.
“We don’t want to miss this opportunity,” Coun. Campbell said.
While the motion was unanimously supported, several members of council voiced concerns.
Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble noted that the price increase “changes the whole picture of the project,” while Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb noted that public consultation should be held if the Township fails to secure a grant.
“If we get a grant, it’s a win/win for the Township. If we don’t, it’s a whole other conversation,” he said.
Ward 3 Councillor said he was “reluctantly” in favour of the municipality moving forward, while Regional Councillor Ted Smith noted that the estimate received by the Township could swing by as much as 15 percent.
“It could go up or down,” he said.
In addition to the motion from Mayor Bath-Hadden, council also approved the development of a long-term strategy for all three arenas as part of the Township’s upcoming operational review.