Mapleton residents gave their two cents to council and staff on major upgrades to Drayton’s PMD Arena and associated grant application at a virtual town hall Tuesday night.
The township will be applying to the Infrastructure Canada Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Fund, which can cover 80 per cent of a project up to $10 million.
Mayor Gregg Davidson explained eligibility to this fund is based on the green energy retrofits and measures that upgrade accessibility.
A plan presented by CIMA is a combination of retrofitting the existing building with some new build. Along with energy-efficient upgrades, amenities in the design include a new multi-use court, a modern entryway, additional multi-purpose rooms, an accessible playground and an indoor walking track.
Davidson said the plan is roughly $9 million and an application for the fund is due July 6.
Aly Cripps, economic development officer, shared preliminary survey comments that noted a lot of people discussing an indoor pool and a second ice pad at the arena.
Some residents who tuned in to the virtual meeting commented that a pool may end up being too big of a tax burden.
“We don’t need a pool, I’ve heard from so many municipalities that have pools that not only do they not make profit, they’re revenue suckers,” said Drayton resident Dale Franklin.
Liz Seamus, an Elmira resident who owns property in Mapleton, said a pool is great in theory but urged dialogue about the realities of operation with the Township of Woolwich.
“From a taxpayer standpoint with a population more than double of Mapleton, there’s significant ongoing deficit issues with the pool,” she said.
Louise Ellis, from Drayton, asked if an outdoor pool would be a better option cost-wise.
Although not part of the current design plan, CAO Manny Baron said he had looked into the financial impacts of these requests.
He said an indoor pool would run about $5 million to build and an outdoor pool would cost around $2 million.
The per day cost of either kind of pool, after revenue, would be about $1,000 per day.
Another ice pad wouldn’t come cheap either at $10 million.
These upgrades weren’t budgeted for either, unlike already planned upgrades which would make up the township’s 20 per cent portion of cost for the project.
Therefore, Baron said the township would need to borrow to do either which would have a big impact to the tax levy.
“If we did both, the impact would be just over 20 per cent and that does not include operating costs,” Baron said.
The mayor said the information from the survey is valuable as they understand the wants of the community as they can plan for these things.
“If we don’t go with a pool or a second ice pad now, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen in the future,” Davidson said. “We’ll plan that out for opportunities that will bring us funding for that.”
Mapleton council will discuss a final plan for the application at a meeting on June 15.
Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com