Mayor defends handling of Vienna hall’s future

·1 min read

The possible sale of the Vienna Community Centre is being handled exactly the same way as the Eden Community Centre and Straffordville Community Centre were in the past, Bayham Mayor Ed Ketchabaw asserts.

At a council meeting Thursday, Dec. 16, Administrator Thomas Thayer said a 25-day comment period for the hall sale would end on Dec. 31.

In an interview before the meeting, Mayor Ketchabaw said the municipality’s policy for disposing of surplus land required only a 14-day comment period but, as with the Straffordville and Eden centres, that had been extended to 25.

Bayham councillors declared the Vienna hall surplus to its need and starting planning what to do with it on June 17.

He claimed councillors have not yet reached a decision to sell that hall.

“The reason it’s being looked at is it’s not used,” he said. “The rental frequency is going down and most of the users were community groups who got discounted fees.”

In addition, he said, a substantial investment is required for the hall to meet accessibility standards. “We understand the uproar and at the same time, they need to tell us how to make it viable.”

Mayor Ketchabaw said a business plan would be needed to make the Vienna hall financially viable.

During a similar comment period for the Straffordville hall, two factors ended up with it not being sold, he said. The first was a $250,000 federal grant for improvements, and the other the Straffordville Hall Foundation raising $100,000 and assuming management of the facility, though it remained a municipal building.

The Eden hall was sold.

Rob Perry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express

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