On Tuesday March 22, Town Council received information regarding the new community centre. Presentations were made outlining the architectural designs, the construction timeline, and how the facility would be financed.
The centre is projected to cost $36.2 million. Its main components consist of two ice pads, a double gymnasium, and some smaller multi-purpose spaces. The primary arena will also include a walking track and seating for 1000 people.
In their financial analysis, town staff claimed that “through a variety of financial tools the centre can be built with a modest taxpayer contribution serving as the heart of our community for generations to come.”
Those tools will include four main components: the sale of surplus lands owned by the town; the use of development charges to be collected as construction continues on the rest of the East Fonthill project; $3 million dollars in donations; and $9 million in taxpayer funded debt that will result in an average increase of $46 for the year. Treasurer Cari Pupo stated unequivocally that no further tax increases will be required to build the centre.
The sale of surplus lands is expected to generate $12 million for the town. Of the 32 acres purchased in 2005 for $3.5 million, there are 19.75 acres remaining, according to staff. CAO Darren Ottaway is confident that this land can be sold for $600,000-$800,000 per acre.
Development charges are fees collected when building permits are issued, designed to help municipalities pay for things like roads, water and sewer services, community centres, and other infrastructure. Town staff expect this amount to add up to another $12 million.
Ball Construction, the centre’s Project Manager, noted that they hope to get on site in late August so they can start pouring concrete by September, and enclose the building by spring. For that to happen, Council will likely need to make a decision on the community centre by the end of May.