WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF A NEW COMMUNITY CENTRE?
There is much talk about a new community centre for our municipality and the Cavan Monaghan Council would have us believe that they are going to build a new $15 million facility and it won’t cost the tax payers a dime. Does anyone really believe that?
Funds, they say, will come out of reserves. No matter how you spin that, it is still tax payers’ money. Whether it came from property tax, the slots or any other source, all funds in the care of the township belong to the residents of this community.
There is no doubt that the current facility leaves much to be desired. The dressing rooms are deplorable; the upper hall is not accessible and the facility does not address the needs of all members of the community.
Any new facility must allow for programs and activities for all members of the community. The problem lies in the way the township is proposing to approach the project.
In my opinion the only way to achieve the desired result is to have serious partners involved. That should include local organizations corporate partners and the public in general. There are several potential partners I believe should be approached and their needs taken into consideration if they are interested in becoming partners.
It is not only the cost of building the facility that has to be considered but also the ongoing operating costs. There are ways to create a facility that can cover at least most of the operating costs and perhaps even turn a small profit.
It is also important to keep in mind that there is a real need for a new fire hall and a new works depot, both of which will require extensive funding.
If the reserves are depleted for one project it will mean tax increases to fund the others, so directly or indirectly it is the tax payers who will foot the bill.
Is the proposed plot of land large enough to accommodate all the possible uses? All those uses will not be known until it is determined what partners might be involved.
A large enough parcel of land could accommodate not only the new community centre but also the new fire hall and works depot. Building them as a municipal complex would mean in the end that the total cost would be less than doing each separately.
All facilities don’t have to be built at the same time but planning for a complete municipal complex would make the future construction more affordable.
We should also keep in mind that the city of Peterborough continues to insist on annexing more land from North Monaghan and that will cause our tax base to shrink, meaning less tax payers to share the cost. All of this must be considered before moving forward with any major project.
With the slots funding disappearing in the very near future we will not have that source to draw on to build the reserves back to a desired level. It took many years to build the current reserve and repeating that process without the slots will present a great challenge.
Let’s hope the Council and the staff thinks this trough thoroughly before making a commitment that digs us into a hole from which we may never emerge.