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Loyalist Township to form Steering Committee to develop a vision and work plan for a Sustainable Community Centre


 
At the December 10th Council meeting, Loyalist Township Council received a report from Township staff with five proposed recommendations related to the development of a sustainable Community Centre at the current site of the WJ Henderson Recreation Centre. Council approved four of the five recommendations proposed in the report. Primary among the approved recommendations is that Council authorize the formation of a steering committee comprised of 3 members of Council, including the Mayor. This committee would be responsible to review the report in detail, develop and recommend to Council a vision and work plan for the Community Centre while providing recommendations around the planning, design, funding strategy and construction of the facilities.

The one recommendation that was not approved was ‘That Council authorize the County of Lennox and Addington to construct a new stand-alone, County-funded daycare facility on the site of the W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre, located at 322 Amherst Drive, and that the Mayor and Interim CAO be authorized to execute an agreement in principle with the County of Lennox and Addington’. Councillor Porter brought forth a motion – passed by Council - that Council not authorize the construction of a stand-alone daycare, expressing concern that ‘building the stand-alone daycare facility could tie our hands for future design of the sustainable community centre.’
 
Mayor Ric Bresee stated that while Council chose not to authorize the County of Lennox and Addington to construct a new stand-alone, County-funded daycare facility, he’s eager to explore the potential for cross-jurisdictional inclusions. ‘The formation of the steering committee enables the Township to thoroughly investigate all potential partnerships and funding sources available,’ Bresee said.
 
The stimulus for the staff report comes from extensive public feedback received through the 10-year Parks & Recreation Master Plan (2017-2027), and a report in 2016 that identified several limitations of the existing Township Municipal Office at 263 Main Street in Odessa.
 
In 2017, the Township completed a comprehensive 10-year Parks & Recreation Master Plan. The resulting Master Plan was the outcome of a comprehensive stakeholder consultation, population growth forecasts and trends in parks and recreation services. Several recommendations which pertained to the W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre in the Master Plan emerged from the Public Consultation process. Specifically, these recommendations included an expansion of the facility to include a gymnasium, integrated track, small therapeutic warm-water pool, multi-purpose rooms, a visual arts studio, a community kitchen, a fitness and weight room, new accessible and family changerooms, and overall upgrades to the facility to make it more accessible.
 
The recommendations in the Master Plan also referenced the opportunity to include a potential new municipal office on the site of the W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre, along with space for partnering agencies.
 
In August of 2016, a staff working group was tasked to examine the state of the current Township Administrative Office. The purpose of this group was to identify the components of the office building that worked well, those that needed updates or repairs, and those that simply did not serve the current and future operational needs of the building and its staff. Staff identified several items of major concern through this study.
 
As directed by Council Resolution 2016.21.9, Staff conducted an analysis of twenty-five (25) potential sites at various locations within Township according to a specific criterion. The results of this analysis suggested that sites located in the vicinity of Amherst Drive and Speers Boulevard in Amherstview would be well suited to accommodate a new municipal office. This is due, in part, to their proximity to the Township’s population-weighted geographical center and accessibility via multiple modes of transportation, as well as their potential to be a part of a community centre which would incorporate various amenities into a single location.
 
At the July 9, 2018 Council Meeting, Council approved a report that granted Township Staff the authority to enter into negotiations with MJMA for the Design of a Sustainable Community Hub. The Feasibility Study and Master Plan developed by MJMA for the proposed Community Centre began with a qualitative systems assessment of the existing W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre. The elements presented in the Feasibility Study include the recreation facilities recommended in the Township’s Parks and Recreations Master Plan, a municipal office which would house Township Staff, and the amenities desired by the County. This allowed the consultant to determine if the proposed facilities could, in principle, be accommodated on the site.
 
Extensive planning options were developed based on the site programming exercise. From there, redundant options were eliminated, and further detailed investigations were undertaken. Eventually, three proposed schemes were reviewed in detail and presented for a Class D cost estimate comparison.
 
The feasibility study also presents options to complete various portions of each scheme in separate phases, allowing for work to be completed as funding becomes available.
 
A net-zero energy approach was taken for the proposed new administrative building, in part due to the opportunities for energy re-use on the site. This target could be achieved through the use of on-site energy production in the form of photovoltaics and heat reclaimed from the ice-making process, or through a geothermal field. More importantly, the use of an effective envelope and energy efficient systems will substantially reduce energy requirements for the proposed facility.

Recommendations approved by Council at the December 10, 2018 Council Meeting:
 

  1. That 322 Amherst Drive be chosen, in principle, as the location for a potential Sustainable Community Centre, which would include a new administrative building and expanded recreational facilities, subject to the development of an acceptable financial plan to fund the Project;
  2. That Council authorize the formation of a steering committee comprised of 3 members of Council, including the Mayor. This committee would be responsible to develop and recommend to Council a vision and detailed work plan for the Community Centre while providing recommendations around the planning, design, and construction of the facility;
  3. That Council does not authorize the County of Lennox and Addington to construct a new stand-alone, County-funded daycare facility on the site of the W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre, located at 322 Amherst Drive, and that the Mayor and Interim CAO be authorized to execute an agreement in principle with the County of Lennox and Addington;
  4. That the Mayor be authorized to approach the Township’s appropriate Provincial and Federal Representatives to discuss potential sources of funding for this Project, and that Staff continue to investigate relevant grant programs which could be applied to the Project; and
  5. That the Mayor and CAO be authorized to execute an agreement with the Green Municipal Fund, which will cover up to 50% of the eligible costs incurred in the assembly of this Feasibility Study, to a maximum of $101,200.