Kawartha Lakes Council endorses reduction in arenas and community halls
“These are service level decisions that need to be made,” explained Mayor Andy Letham. “Since the spring when I conducted 10 town hall meetings across the City, I have been saying we can’t afford all of the assets we currently have. This decision is a positive step in addressing that.”
As part of the staff recommendation, Council has approved reducing and replacing the number of municipal ice pads from 10 to eight over the next 10 years through the consolidation of six single pad facilities into two twin pad facilities.
“Staff has done an excellent job of providing the needed data to look at usage and costs associated with our existing arena facilities so Council can make these informed service level decisions,” said CAO Ron Taylor.
As part of the staff recommendation Council has also endorsed reducing the number of stand-alone municipal Community Halls from a total of 18 to 12 by 2018 with a phased in approached over the next three years.
“There are tremendous costs associated with the City’s community halls,” said Mr. Taylor. “We have ongoing maintenance costs, future capital improvement costs, and increasing utility costs. All of these have contributed to the City’s need to look at every facility and determine where we can reduce those costs with minimal impact to the public in order to maintain or enhance services.”
With two community halls to be closed in each of the next three years, Council approved the removal from the municipal facility inventory of the Victoria Road Hall and Mariposa Hall in 2016 during Tuesday’s meeting.
Director of Community Services, Craig Shanks explained the City would now begin the process of reaching out to community groups and stakeholders in the New Year to see if there is local interest in assuming ownership of the identified halls.
“We will be going out to the individual communities to talk with groups and stakeholders to see if they have an interest in assuming ownership of the halls,” explained Mr. Shanks. “We will be exploring all avenues and opportunities before bringing forward a detailed plan to Council in the New Year for divesting the properties.”
“Any time we talk about community halls or arenas it can be an emotional issue,” noted Mayor Letham. “What we need to focus on is that as a result of these decisions we will be able to put the appropriate financial resources into the remaining and planned facilities to provide and protect these valuable services for generations to come.”
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