Grey Highlands council has approved a $30,000 reserve transfer in order to complete some repairs at the Rocklyn arena to bring it into compliance with the Ontario Fire Code.
Council held a special meeting on Nov. 9 in order to approve a transfer of $30,000 from the special Euphrasia reserve to conduct repairs at the arena that are required after they were identified during a recent fire inspection.
Mayor Paul McQueen said he, Coun. Dane Nielsen and senior staff recently met at the arena with the Friends of the Rocklyn Arena group to go over the inspection report and the required repairs.
McQueen said the upper part of the arena, which is used as a warm viewing area, has to have wood panelling replaced with drywall in order to comply with the fire code. There are also other issues identified in the report, which can be found here.
McQueen said the upper area is used as the viewing area for Saturday morning youth hockey.
“Saturday morning hockey has been going on, as we all know, for a lot of years,” said McQueen. “The community feels it wouldn’t take a lot to get it up and running.”
The mayor said Grey Highlands has $30,000 that came to the municipality from the former Euphrasia Township to be used for the repairs. McQueen said volunteers in the community have offered to do the drywall work and other necessary repairs, if the municipality can cover the WSIB insurance costs.
Council voted 5-0 in favour of releasing the money, with Councillors Danielle Valiquette and Cathy Little absent.
Deputy Mayor Aakash Desai raised a concern about council approving such an expense so late in its mandate. The new Grey Highlands council elected on October 24 will be sworn into office on Dec. 5.
“I don’t have an issue with the repairs being done, my concern is we’re making a decision the future council should be making,” said Desai. “At the end of the day, this could be a strategic decision. Why can’t this wait?”
McQueen said there is a concern that a delay could cost the arena the use of the viewing area for some time as the Christmas holiday season looms.
“It’s a timing issue,” he said.
Nielsen said that it’s council’s responsibility to ensure its facilities are maintained properly, regardless of what might happen in the future.
“We should be keeping them in good repair. It’s not like we’re doing a major renovation,” he said.
Coun. Tom Allwood also noted that four members of the new council were present for the special meeting (McQueen, Nielsen, Allwood and Coun. Paul Allen were all reelected) for the decision.
“That should alleviate the deputy mayor’s concerns,” he said.