Morris-Turnberry Council aids recreation centre's lost revenue
BY DENNY SCOTT
Morris-Turnberry Council approved a recommended motion to contribute funds to the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre, despite some questions about input the municipality has in regards to expenses.
The payment, which will be drawn from funds made available to Morris-Turnberry to help meet COVID-19 expenses, are to help the deficit created by the closure of the centre due to COVID-19.
Chief Administrative Officer Trevor Hallam said that Huron East, which owns the facility, decided to cover nearly $61,000 of lost revenue and, as part of its cost-sharing agreement, Morris-Turnberry will be invoiced for 20 per cent of that at $12,000. Hallam also said that Morris-Turnberry has been given approximately $125,000 in COVID-19 relief funding, so the expense can be handled without using tax dollars.
“We have the money available,” he said, adding a similar concession had been approved with the Belgrave Community Centre board.
Councillor Jamie McCallum said the funding should be more widely used for initiatives like this and for other projects like the COVID-19 vaccination clinics being held in Wingham.
While not against the move, Deputy-Mayor Sharen Zinn wondered if Morris-Turnberry Council had any input in the decision to pay out the funding.
“Do we get a say in it before it’s passed, since we do fund a big part of their facilities?” she asked.
Hallam said council isn’t consulted on issues like this, saying Huron East is the operating municipality.
“We do have a seat on the [community centre] board, but [Huron East Council] was deciding how to use [its] Safe Restart funds and distributing them among the centres,” he said.
Hallam also said that Treasurer Shawn Brophy was contacted by Huron East to ask if Morris-Turnberry could cover those costs. Brophy explained that it had made other such contributions and that he felt it was an eligible expense for the COVID-19 funding.
Council approved the approximate $12,000 expense.
BELMORE COMMUNITY CENTRE
Councillor Jim Nelemans also suggested using the COVID-19 funds for a likely-forthcoming request from the Belmore Community Centre for renovations.
Nelemans, who sits on the committee responsible for the centre, said the centre will be the focus of a major renovation project, similar to but smaller than the multi-million initiative being undertaken at the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre.
The project, according to Nelemans, will include renovating the dressing rooms and refreshing the facility.
Partner municipality South Bruce has earmarked $20,000 for the project, Nelemans said. That funding came from contributions to the community by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, according to Nelemans.
Hallam said the report which Nelemans was citing was for information only, and Hallam anticipated a request for funding would be presented at a future council meeting.
Nelemans suggested donating to it, which led Councillor Kevin Freiburger to ask if funds specifically for COVID-19 relief could be used for the renovation. As a result, council directed staff to investigate that option.