Mayor Dave Augustyn’s Column for Monday, 4 April 2016
Last week I wrote about the elegant design and affordable financing plan for the Pelham Community Centre. Since then, some folks asked me to report again about the projected operating costs and basis for a double arena.
Last Fall, Staff presented a very detailed pro forma that estimates that the Town can operate the Pelham Community Centre for an operating subsidy of less than $200,000 per year. (Lacking any energy efficiencies or operational synergies, our existing 40-year-old arena requires a $100,000 annual operating subsidy.)
The Architect and Construction Manager included the latest energy efficiency innovations – like an eco-chiller for heat exchange and LED lights – and took care to minimize wasted space while making the Centre’s layout very functional.
The facilities in some other communities include pools or fitness areas which are very expensive to operate and maintain. Further, many other facilities lack a compact design or use older technologies.
Others also include debt servicing costs into reported operating budgets, making direct cost comparisons difficult.
In early-2014, LeisurePlan recommended replacing the existing single arena on Haist Street with a new double arena in the East Fonthill area. Further, they recommended designing for two arenas but with a phased build – building one arena first, and construct the second pad after 2023/24 when sustaining demand developed.
As soon as the consultant released the report, arena users and community members questioned the completeness of the participation numbers used in the report.
Then, in 2015, the Architectural Design Advisory Committee (ADAC) recommended that the Town re-evaluate the business case for building a double arena during the initial build. In addition to concerns about not including all the current demand, ADAC expressed concerns with the overall cost and design implications of phased construction. For example, since they couldn’t easily phase-in electrical and mechanical systems and since the initial build would need “temporary” walls or future connections, the capital cost differential for phasing would be minimal.
In June 2015, LeisurePlan updated their previous projections by considering missing information and additional demand from existing arena ice-users (18-20 hours/week). They concluded that “a second ice pad would be utilized 69%-77% during prime time” and therefore recommended that the Town “should consider the provision of a second ice pad by 2018/19.”
In July 2015, Council agreed with this recommendation and directed that the design include two arenas.
You can review information about this very important and exciting project at Town Hall and Pelham Libraries or at www.pelham.ca/community-centre. And, please plan to attend the Open Houses on Saturday, April 16, to speak with the Architect, Construction Manager, Town Staff, volunteer Architectural Design Advisory Committee members and Councillors.
You may contact Mayor Dave at email@example.com or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.com .