Huron East Council remains optimistic on Brussels arena project
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After a public presentation of the rising renovation and expansion costs for the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre, Huron East Council is hoping that Morris-Turnberry Council sees the value in the project for the community and its residents.
Huron East Council briefly addressed the issue at its Oct. 19 meeting. This comes after Chief Administrative Officer Brad McRoberts and Mayor Bernie MacLellan presented the revised project plans and associated costs to Morris-Turnberry Council at a special meeting held the previous week.
While Morris-Turnberry Mayor Jamie Heffer said his council felt the project was “no longer viable”, as reported in the Oct. 14 issue of The Citizen, council took no official action as a result of the Huron East presentation.
McRoberts told council that Morris-Turnberry had posed a number of questions about the project and the next steps and he was in the process of formally answering them in the coming days.
Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan said Morris-Turnberry is required to pay 20 per cent of the cost of capital projects and, if Morris-Turnberry Council chooses not to honour its agreement, the two councils would reach somewhat of a “stalemate”, according to McRoberts.
MacLellan said he found some of Morris-Turnberry Council’s comments to be “leading”, especially when it came to who should be making decisions first. Morris-Turnberry Council, he said, expressed its disappointment that it wasn’t consulted earlier when the cost of the project rose dramatically. However, MacLellan said, he’s never heard of a situation where a minority stakeholder needed to be consulted before the majority stakeholder, so he didn’t feel that was appropriate.
Having said that, MacLellan said he was still hopeful that Morris-Turnberry Council would see the value in the project.
Under the revised budget, the total cost of the renovation and expansion of the community centre, including the replacement of the roof and the inclusion of a gym, would be over $7.2 million. While the federal government would pay $1.9 million and the provincial government would pay just under $1.6 million, Huron East would be responsible for $1,879,700 and Morris-Turnberry would have to pay just under $470,000, leaving $1.4 million to be raised by the community through fundraising.
Also at the Oct. 19 meeting, council authorized the transfer payment from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (Community, Culture and Recreation Stream Project) for the renovation and expansion project.
McRoberts explained that, because of when Huron East held its council meetings, it was granted a small extension for signing the agreement. As a result, it needed to be signed the following morning (Oct. 20).
Council approved the signing of the transfer payment agreement. Meanwhile, Morris-Turnberry Council did not address the issue at its Oct. 19 meeting.