Committee to look at new multi-use facility in Central Manitoulin

MINDEMOYA—A committee is being formed, spearheaded by a Central Manitoulin resident, to investigate the replacement and options for a new multi-use facility, considering such things as location and activities that would take place in the building.

“I guess from the last property committee meeting (June 14) the committee agreed to look at a facility somewhat like Little Current has, accommodating an arena, hall and possibly other amenities,” said Central Manitoulin Mayor Richard Stephens after a council meeting last week where they considered the establishment of this investigating committee.

“Our biggest problem is we are looking at buildings that we have such as the (Mindemoya arena) and accessibility requirements that have to be met in the next few years and whether we should keep spending money on repairs on buildings such as the arena that is 70 years-old when it does not meet accessibility standards,” said Mayor Stephens.

Mayor Stephens pointed out, “Mike Bridgeman had brought the suggestion at our last property committee meeting that this investigation should take place, and the committee is in favour of it.”

Mr. Bridgeman told the Recorder in an interview last Friday, “I’m an active member on the Mindemoya Arena Advisory Committee (MAAC), and sort of became the chair of the committee last year. For the last four or five years we have been looking at several renovations and repairs at the arena. For instance, we wanted to move the cafeteria in the arena, and showers and change room, but the costs were too high, and we have had to instead look at other issues with the building as well, such as repairing the east wall.”

“The arena building is about 70 years-old and there are already problems with the east wall that has to be repaired,” said Mr. Bridgeman. “We have about eight years to get all the repairs and renovations needed to be done at the arena complete to be up to accessibility regulation standards. But the question is do we keep spending funds on a 70 year-old building that doesn’t meet accessibility standards?”

“The committee said we need to make sure the all the municipal community centres are on board, and if a new building is constructed that it should be a multi-use facility,” said Mr. Bridgeman. “We are in the very, very early stages of this whole proposal.”

At the council meeting last week, Councillor Derek Stephens said, “I’d like to see at least one councillor from each ward work on the committee. Because of what this investigation is all about, I would like to see the whole township working together on this project.”

Mayor Stephens said, “the appointment of Mr. Bridgeman would be to lead the committee but there will be a number of people from the community on the committee.”

“In the committee they said they would use the MAAC committee members, and I have no problem with that, but I think there also needs to be broader representation,” said Councillor Derek Stephens.

Council agreed to pass a motion to appoint Mr. Bridgeman to lead a broad-based committee composed of members appointed by council from all three wards of the municipality to investigate the replacement and options for a new multi-use facility, considering such things as location and activities and this committee report to the property committee with their findings.”

In a related issue, council passed a motion at its meeting for municipal staff to proceed with the original plans as set out in the funding application for the east wall repairs at the J.H. Burt Memorial Arena.