Posted on Wednesday August 21, 2019 at 4:41 p.m.
Russell Township eyes Cadillac-style recreation complex
“My suggestion is we go for the Cadillac,” says Mayor Pierre Leroux about a future recreation complex project for Russell Township.
Gregg Chamberlain, EAP
Township council decided Tuesday night to take advantage of a surprise opportunity for large-scale funding assistance from the provincial and federal governments for new multi-use community recreation projects.
Grants Ontario will take applications from September until midnight November 12 for the next phase of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICI). The program focus is on either developing new large-scale multi-use community recreation and cultural projects or renovating and rehabilitating existing recreation and culture facilities.
The maximum possible grant approval for renovating an existing facility is $5 million, while a new multi-use project could result in up to a maximum of $50 million in funding aid.
During the Tuesday night special session, township council reviewed a consultant’s report on the proposed Russell recreation complex project. The report included six options for a facility which would feature a theatre/auditorium, a six-lane indoor pool, and an arena with anywhere from one to three NHL-size ice pads, along with various support features.
Cost projections for the six options ranged from $33.7 million to $52.7 million, depending on which option township council and residents decided was most feasible and affordable. The report includes appendixes from administration and the parks and recreation department on possible financing methods for the project, potential impact on property taxes depending on each option, and also reviewing the condition of the aging Embrun and Russell arenas.
Council still wants administration and the consultants to continue planning work based on all the options presented in the report, including preparing a detailed communications plan to explain to all residents what options are available for a multi-use recreation complex that would complement the new Sports Dome and replace the Embrun and Russell arenas.
But both Mayor Leroux and the rest of council agreed that Russell Township is in “a unique position” to take quick advantage of the chance for ICI funding since it already has a very detailed proposal for a multi-use recreation facility. Council authorized administration to review the ICI guidelines for a report at the September 3 session on what else might be needed to submit a funding application for the Russell recreation complex project.