Brockton council looks at arena options

BROCKTON – A busy agenda at the March 7 council meeting included the final draft of the Recreation Master Services and Facilities plan.

This document will guide development of recreation in the municipality over the coming years, ensuring it meets the needs of a growing and changing population.

Mayor Chris Peabody commented prior to the meeting that it includes a look at costs for a new arena and grants (for constructing a “green” facility). He said it appears “any (grant) money you get would be offset by the increased cost of constructing a ‘net zero’ building.”

The estimated cost of $24 million for a new arena, with essentially no grant money available, would be a huge undertaking for the municipality, he said, since that money would have to be raised locally.

Peabody said the municipality currently has $22 million in long-term debt, making the interest payments on an additional $24 million prohibitive.

In addition, the municipality is looking at replacement of the major bridge in Walkerton in the near future. While the project itself is being done by the county, there are associated costs, for example, sidewalks, that would be municipal.

Peabody said, “We have to look at the stream for ‘green’ renovations to the existing arena… we can’t borrow $24 million.”

Another item on the agenda was a draft plan of subdivision (owner – Barry’s Construction and Insulation Ltd.).

“The density is excellent,” said Peabody of the plan.

Revisions to the draft plan mean that the proposed subdivision will include only 15 detached dwellings. The remaining dwellings – 120 of them – will be townhouses, which should have a lower purchase price than detached homes. This makes home ownership possible for a wider range of residents, the mayor said.

“This is a very exciting project,” he said, noting that it is located on part of the MZO (Minister’s Zoning Order) lands.

Also on the agenda of the March 7 meeting were presentations on the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, and the Chesley hospital community support committee.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times