By Barb McKay
After years of waiting, Tiverton will finally get a new community centre.
Jim McTeer, of the Whitney Crawford Community Centre (WCCC) board, came to last Wednesday’s Kincardine council meeting to make a plea for the municipality to finally address the derelict building. The community centre was one of three municipally-owned facilities that were the subjects of a study done by NA Engineering in 2012 to determine the cost of repairs and improvements.
Since the study was completed, McTeer said, the only repair that has been done to the building was to an air conditioner that broke down. The board paid for the repair itself. Other municipal buildings have been approved for repairs, including the Arts Centre, McTeer said. Now, with plans to fix up the municipal administration building, the WCCC will fall to the bottom of the list.
“At a certain point the Whitney Crawford Community Centre won’t be rentable,” he said.
Already, the board is losing rentals because the kitchen isn’t equipped with a dishwasher. The washrooms are not up to code because they are not wheelchair accessible. The light fixtures are so old that bulbs that fit them are no longer sold. The building currently costs $56 per day to operate. There hasn’t been an operating agreement between the board and the municipality since 2007. McTeer finally took it upon himself to replace ceiling tiles, because otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten done, he said.
“We can’t let it sit the way it is, it isn’t functional.”
McTeer said requests to repair or replace the building have come to council over the course of three terms, with no decision.
The NA Engineering report provided cost estimates for a variety of options. Making repairs to the building would cost roughly $280,000. Tearing down the WCCC and building a new facility on the same site is estimated at $926,000.
“I wouldn’t spend a dime on that existing building,” said councillor Randy Roppel. “It has surpassed its useful life and it needs to be torn down and built new.”
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said council has been talking about what to do with the WCCC all term. She proposed that the facility be replaced with a new building on land owned by the municipality and that a committee be established to come up with a plan for the rebuild that could possibility include the Tiverton library. The committee would report monthly to council on its progress.
Mayor Larry Kraemer said it is too close to the municipal election to be approving large projects and he would prefer to leave it to the next council. Councillor Jacqueline Faubert disagreed, and said that continuity is needed. She said she thought a public meeting was to be held to get input on what to do with the building. McTeer said a public meeting was held and questions and answers from that event were included in the NA Engineering report.
Councillor Maureen Couture pointed out that the amount of funding required for repairs or a new building could not be committed until the next budget process, but said a decision could be made on how to proceed and some of the leg work could be done.
“This is seriously what we’re going to do?” asked councillor Ken Craig, who is also the recreation policy chair. “The only redeeming quality (in this option) is there is no tear down date.”
Council agreed to Eadie’s recommendation. The matter will be brought back for consideration at the May 21 meeting.