The proposed full-sized basketball court that will be part of the Edgar Street Park project in Sundridge will now serve a dual purpose.
The town council has decided that rather than outfit the basketball court with an asphalt surface, it will instead lay down a concrete base in order to accommodate an outdoor ice rink during the winter.
Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson told council research shows a concrete base will last longer than an asphalt base and is less prone to cracking.
However, opting for the concrete surface and outdoor ice rink has implications, as staff pointed out.
Foremost is the price differential.
A staff report tells council the concrete base will cost $30,000 more than the asphalt base.
The asphalt work falls in the $45,000-$60,000 range, while the price for a concrete floor starts at $75,000 and goes up from there.
The Edgar Street Park proposal is expected to include playground equipment, but staff says installing this equipment would be delayed to next year since the cost of the concrete would eat into that part of the project.
All of council was on board with a concrete base instead of asphalt, especially since the latter option could result in a damaged surface.
Work to start preparing the site will begin sometime in August.
The Edgar Street Park would cover 1.4 acres and in addition to having a basketball court with nighttime lights, it would include a gazebo, the previously mentioned playground and a walking trail that makes its way through trees on the land.
A small parking lot with space for four vehicles also is part of the project.
The original cost to create the park was estimated at $135,000 with the village putting up the $35,000 as its share.
This amount doesn't take into account the revised proposal to replace the asphalt base at the basketball court with concrete.
Staff also says the village may have to contract the ice rink maintenance.
Normally, public works could do the work but the priority for crews is winter road maintenance.
Public works could maintain the rink when possible, but this situation is not ideal since the ice surface can't be used until someone clears it of snowfall.
Staff says hiring someone like an ice technician to look after the ice could cost between $1,500 and $2,000 a month over the winter.
For added safety, the village may want to rent boards to surround the rink, the cost of which could run from as little as $5,000 to as high as $20,000 for the season.
Another factor to consider is the cost to flood the basketball court with water at the beginning of the ice skating season and to add more water over the winter as needed in order to maintain a usable surface.
On the plus side, staff says outdoor ice rinks are becoming more popular and create a great winter sport activity, providing another way for people to become physically active.
Sundridge is still waiting to hear back from the federal government on whether it has approved an application for $100,000 under the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream for Ontario under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The village would still pursue the park project if its application is rejected, but the work would be carried out over several years as cash is built up for the various park components.
Alternatively, if the federal government gives the project its stamp of approval, much of the work could be carried out this year.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget