Kawartha Lakes reviews long term plan for arenas

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At an evening Committee of the Whole meeting on May 9 at the Little Britain Arena and Community Centre, Council considered the long term plan for arena capital requirements.

Craig Shanks, Director of Community Services, recapped staff recommendations to Council that include $11.7 million of capital investment over the next 10 years. All costs have been included in the municipality’s long-term financial plan.

Minimal capital repairs for Oakwood, Little Britain and Emily-Omemee to maximize life cycle

Investment in these facilities would be reserved for health and safety related projects until the end of the 10-Year Financial Plan (2027).  Continued minimal improvements are scheduled over the remaining 10 or more years of life cycle in these facilities.

Staff will plan for a new arena complex in the South West Area for inclusion in the next financial planning cycle (2028-2037).

Staff will plan for a new single pad arena build in the Village of Omemee and budget accordingly for inclusion in the next financial planning cycle (2028-2037).

By scheduling these new builds into the next planning cycle, it allows the best solution to be developed to suit the needs of the community at that time, while ensuring enough time to plan for the significant investment required. If a new twin pad or two single pads were to be added to the current 10-Year Financial Plan (2017-2027), there would be an additional $8-16 million shortfall.

Maintain Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Manvers, Lindsay and Woodville

Maintenance and investment into these five facilities will extend their life cycle and ensure they remain in good condition. No significant investment outside of what has been included in the 10-Year Financial Plan is anticipated.

Refurbish Ops

This facility is scheduled for a complete refurbishment with construction beginning in 2020. The design phase is expected to start shortly. The 2019-2020 ice season would not be affected. As the construction takes place in 2020-2021, users would be accommodated in other municipal facilities.

During the presentation, Director Shanks provided an overview of the enhancements to arena use and profitability over the last two seasons. Hours of use has increased significantly across all arenas due to facility booking enhancements and administrative procedures. Total revenue in each arena has also grown, partly due to an increase in user fees implemented in 2017, resulting in $247,000 additional revenue over 2016.

Tracy Richardson, Councillor, Ward 8, presented on behalf of the Manvers Volunteer Working Group and outlined their actions over the last 18 months. Through a variety of local fundraising initiatives, including community dances, hockey tournaments and donations, $25,000 has been raised. Capstone Community Fund contributed a further $25,000. Several improvements have been made to the property including landscaping, painting and a canteen upgrade. The Minor Hockey League adapted their schedule in order to be in a position to sell additional ice time. The 2017-2018 season saw an increase in revenue of $48,000 and a modest increase in hall bookings. The Working Group has already given back $5,500 to local user groups and schools. They are continuing to work with a local company to provide an elevator to meet accessibility requirements. The Manvers Arena Working Group has created a template for other local community groups to access should they wish to undertake similar actions.

“I’m proud of our community for being so supportive and invested in our Manvers Arena and Community Centre. We want to continue to work with the municipality in a partnership role,” commented Councillor Richardson.

Mayor Letham noted, “The Manvers community has steped up, and I hope the group is pleased with the recommendations in the staff report. It’s a long-term commitment to the Manvers facility, along with all of our other arenas. We look forward to working with other community groups to enhance how we support our facilities.”

After deputations from the public, Mayor Letham remarked, “I want to be clear that this recommendation is not putting off a decision on these three facilities (Little Britain, Oakwood and Emily-Omemee). It’s recognizing the life left in the buildings, and choosing to maximize the time left. It will allow a future Council to make a decision with the best information on what current users want and the requirements for funding.”

Council unanimously passed the recommendations to be brought forward to the May 21 Regular Council Meeting for consideration.

Background

In December 2015, Council directed staff to prepare an arena rationalization strategy that would result in a more efficient and effective service delivery model. Multiple reports, including the Arena Rationalization Strategy, have identified that Kawartha Lakes is over-supplied with ice pads. It has been suggested that eight ice pads (a reduction of two from the current inventory) could serve the demand now and into the future. In December 2016, Council determined that the benefit arena facilities contribute to the community was greater than the financial support required to keep the facilities operational. All arenas have remained open to date.

Since that time, the Mayor has chaired a working group including two Councillors to seek input from each community that currently has a community centre. The working group’s objective is to provide input on the issues from a community perspective relating to operations of community centres. The working group invited representatives from the Manvers community to develop a business plan for the operation of the Manvers Community Centre that could possibly be used as a template in other communities in Kawartha Lakes.

The working group provided an update in July 2017. The update recommended that the Arenas Working Group and the Arena User Groups continue to work together to reduce the municipal annual operating deficit for arena facilities, with a staff report to be received back on operational savings and efficiencies following the 2018-19 arena season.

A long-term Capital Plan for arena facilities was delivered in September 2017, recommending:

  • Manvers, Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay, and Woodville arena facilities be maintained as required for operations
  • The Ops arena facility be scheduled for a complete refurbishment
  • A new arena complex be explored in the Oakwood/Little Britain area, with the goal of combining the two existing facilities
  • A new arena complex be explored in the Village of Omemee to replace the existing Emily/Omemee complex
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