The Town is entering an important phase towards the construction of the new Sports and Recreation Center. A call for tenders was issued earlier this year with bids expected to be opened by the end of February.
At the January 30, 2023 council meeting, Council gave a notice of motion and tabled a draft loan by-law for the new Sports and Recreation Center. Here is a breakdown of what this is and how it affects taxpayers.
WHAT IS A LOAN BY-LAW?
When a municipality wishes to borrow money to carry out infrastructure capital work, it must proceed by way of a loan by-law if it does not have the funds required to carry out the work in its annual capital budget.
The construction of the new Sports and Recreation Center will serve the citizens living in Town for the next 40 years or more. This municipal infrastructure project will benefit the entire population, community organizations and local merchants. In addition to the grant received from the federal and provincial governments representing over 1/3 of the estimated cost for the project, it will be funded by the generous donations raised through the fundraising campaign, appropriation of unaffected and affected surplus and contributions by municipal taxpayers, present and future.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE OF A LOAN BY-LAW?
The Cities and Towns Act defines which loan by-law is subject to the approval of the qualified voters according to the procedure provided for a loan by-law. The loan by-law for the new Sports and Recreation Center is subject to this process. Qualified voters may register to determine if a referendum vote must be held to approve the loan by-law. If the minimum number of signatures are not received, the by-law will be sent to the Ministère des affaires municipales et de l’habitation (MAMH) for approval. This is the final step in the loan by-law process.
Registration will take place at Town Hall on Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
TOWN COUNCIL’S POSITION
It is of utmost importance to Council to move ahead with a project that has its residents’ support.
In the case where there is no referendum for the loan by-law, Council is committed to holding a vote on this project once the bids are opened and the exact prices are known. At that point we will be able to present the actual impact on your tax bill.
UNDERSTANDING THE FIGURES IN THE LOAN BY-LAW
The estimated project costs in the loan by-law include taxes, contingencies and other related and unforeseen expenses pertaining to the work. It is important to note that the maximum borrowing power of $27 M as listed in the by-law is based on estimated costs and does not take into consideration private (fundraising) and public (provincial and federal government financial assistance) contributions. Once these amounts are deducted, the estimated loan for taxpayers is $11 M.
The annual cost to taxpayers will depend on the final project costs and the fluctuating interest rate when the amount is borrowed at a rate based on the value of these immovables as it appears in the assessment roll in force each year.
A call for tenders for the construction of the new Sports and Recreation Center was issued on January 12, 2023 with a deadline to submit bids by February 24, 2023. We are currently working off cost estimations as final project costs remain unknown until the opening of the bids. Exact prices will only be known in March after the bid opening process.
OUR CURRENT FACILITIES
The existing aging facilities, namely the Legion Memorial Rink, the outdoor pool and the North chalet, require colossal and significant upgrades and are unable to support the modern-day expectations of users and limit the Town in its ability to maintain and improve quality of life in the community.
Built in 1964, our facilities are now 58 years old, far exceeding the 40-50 year expected life span for an arena and an outdoor swimming pool. Serious structural and accessibility issues are now at play and replacement is the only option.
PLANS FOR THE NEW CENTER
The new Sports and Recreation Center project consists of the demolition of the existing obsolete infrastructure and reconstruction of a new center at the same location, at 220 Bedbrook Avenue.
As it stands, the current plans for the new Sports and Recreation Center include a regulation sized-rink, an outdoor L-shaped swimming pool, a gymnasium, multipurpose rooms, pro-shop, café-restaurant, offices and kitchen facilities.
The new Center will offer enhanced sport and recreation services, will be universally accessible and will favour an eco-responsible and climate-resilient design.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE NEW CENTER?
Everyone! The new Center will serve babies, children, teenagers, adults and seniors alike through a variety of different programs and activities.