Letter: Further support for a town hall meeting on multiplex proposal

Citizens should have a chance to decide for themselves whether the proposal makes sense

To the Expositor:

I wish to support the letter to the Editor ‘A call to hold a town hall meeting as soon as feasible after the COVID-19 problem has resolved’ (April 1). People in Central Manitoulin need to understand the ramifications of their councillors’ proposal for a new multiplex. The proposal is to tear down the existing arenas in Mindemoya and Providence Bay, the 99-year-old stone and brick Old School, and to destroy the park beside it, and construct a new arena attached to the Community Hall with a greatly expanded parking lot. They have applied for a federal grant.

Citizens should have a chance to decide for themselves whether the proposal makes sense. The annual projected revenue from the multiplex is estimated at $117,050 in the first year, rising modestly over a five-year period. The annual revenue from the current two arenas and the Community Hall was $33,000. So somehow they are counting on more than three times the annual revenue to make this project appear viable.

The multiplex proposal counts on having a recreation co-ordinator who would presumably be able to more than triple the revenue from the buildings, although that person’s salary is not counted as an expense for the multiplex. The municipality would look for a separate funding grant for the recreation co-ordinator.

The grant proposal also purports that the Old School is 79 years old, instead of its actual age of 99, one year shy of a century. Why? Perhaps council did not want to raise the eyebrows of federal officials who might see heritage value in the school?

This is the council that refused to rent a room from the public school so that seniors could have a place to get together, do crafts or hold meetings. This is the council that refused to pay $2,000 for a tourism facility at the swing bridge this year. This is the council that wants to tear down the Old School at an estimated cost of $200,000, according to the Tulloch proposal. 

Friends of the Old School are calling for a halt to all these plans until the issues can be thoroughly aired publicly. 

Jan McQuay