If Ingersoll receives federal and provincial funding for the proposed multi-use recreation complex, the first phase will be without an outdoor rink.
If Ingersoll receives federal and provincial funding for its proposed multi-use recreation complex, the first phase will be without an outdoor rink.
Town councillors voted against that addition after hearing about the extensive costs associated with an outdoor option.
The staff report indicated an outdoor rink – similar to the 1,085-square-metre surface in Tillsonburg – could cost as much as $750,000. However, if the town was to add a roof and change rooms, that cost could balloon to as much as $7 million before adding annual operating costs.
“It’s gone beyond what I had thought of for a community rink,” Coun. Michael Bowman said. “I’d rather take that money and set aside for a second pad in the future.”
Under normal circumstances, council would likely ask staff to get more information but, with the town hoping to cash in on the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help with funding, time is running out.
“We need to nail down what it’s going to look like,” CAO William Tigert told council. “For staff to move, if you want an outdoor rink, tell us to put a roof on it and we’ll get the costs to include that in the application and we’ll let council know what it’ll be, but the decision needs to be made if we’re going to get it in for Nov. 12.”
There were also a few council questions about the expected operating costs of an outdoor rink.
With Tillsonburg only completing the first year with an outdoor rink,Kyle Stefanovic, Ingersoll’s director of community services, said that town doesn’t yet have a firm number on the operating costs. TIllsonburg did see increased hydro and utility costs.
He added Tillsonburg staff said the outdoor rink was heavily used, but it meant the town lost revenue with a decrease in public skating. When it snowed, it was also difficult for staff to shovel over the boards. Tillsonburg is now looking at adding snow removal for its outdoor rink, which would be an additional cost.
“I think it’s a great idea, but when we explored it I don’t think the payoff of having an outdoor space is worth it,” Coun. Brian Petrie said. “I’d rather put that money aside each year and put it towards adding (a possible second indoor rink).”
Much of the discussion focused on the expectation for the rink, with some councillors believing smaller was better.
Coun. Gord Lesser and Coun. Kristy Van Kooten-Bossence believed something smaller scale – similar to London’s outdoor rink in Victoria Park – was more appropriate.
Deputy Mayor Fred Freeman said he was in favour of a larger pad and wanted staff to explore it further to nail down the costs.
Tigert, though, emphasized the proximity of the infrastructure program deadline, with council next meeting Oct. 15.
He stressed that time was of essence to hire an engineer for the project, a step could take up to six months, saying the government is more likely to select projects further along in the process.
The proposed complex would have an ice pad with seating for 200 or more people, a warming and viewing area, a second-floor walking track, a multi-purpose community room with capacity for about 350 people, a double gym and change rooms.
Ingersoll held a special meeting of council Aug. 26 while the town prepared its funding proposal for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – a cost share between federal and provincial governments that will invest about $30 billion over the next 10 years.
If the Ingersoll project is selected as part of the $1.3-billion community, culture and recreation stream, the senior governments will cover up to 73 per cent of the total costs, which could run to about $22 million.
Council also selected the 14-hectares site on Clarke Road as the future home for the facility, rather than 99 North Town Line East, which would’ve required a boundary adjustment with Zorra Township.