Town hires architectural firm to undertake Central Park plan 0
COLLINGWOOD - The town has hired the architects behind the new library building to look at options for a proposed recreation centre at Central Park.
On Monday night, councillors hired WGD Architects to undertake a feasibility assessment and prepare a preliminary design; one of the principals of WGD, Henry Wong, designed the library.
The cost of the contract is $26,490 - well under the $30,000 budget set aside for the work - and the information gleaned will be used to assist the committee looking at the project to arrive at some recommendations to go to council by next January.
Three submissions were presented to the town for consideration, and while the pricing for all three came in fairly close, WGD's proposal stood above the others for several reasons, said Parks, Recreation and Culture director Marta Proctor.
Proctor said WGD was determined to have the required scope of qualifications and experience, and presented a detailed approach and strategy - as well as a plan to get their work done within a fairly condensed schedule.
It's expected the consultant's work will be presented to the committee by the end of September.
However, the motion to hire the consultant caused some concern for Councillor Ian Chadwick, who asked for the decision to be deferred until he heard a report from the committee.
"It's premature to go get drawings when we've had no report from the committee," he said. "We don't know the alternatives or the costs."
It was pointed out to him, however, that the work of WGD would be needed in order for the committee to be in a position to get back to council with an interim report.
"They will do the preliminary design and identify the costing, so we have... options and costs based on that preliminary information and what's possible at that site," said Proctor.
Chadwick still pushed for a deferral - which was defeated - and was the lone councillor to vote against the motion.
An information-gathering session was held two weeks ago at the curling club, and a survey has been available online, to gauge what residents want to see at the site. Among the options presented for the site have included a double ice rink or a single indoor rink with the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena still used as a rink, and either a four-lane or a six-lane 25-metre pool. Any project would be done in partnership with the YMCA and the Collingwood Curling Club, with the entire facility potentially under one roof.
Proctor said the committee "does not have the mandate or the skillset" to undertake the work that will be done by WGD, a fact echoed by committee co-chair Brian Saunderson.
"This is not geared to be (coming up with) a final design," said Saunderson. "This will give us expert information on which to base our recommendations... this is not a process to come up with a final design.
"This is a process to tell us what the capital costs will be, with various options in mind," he said. "(WGD) will be gathering the information to allow us to come to (council) with the cost implications."
The public input from the online survey and the information session at the curling club, he emphasized, will be used by WGD to arrive at the options it will present the committee.
"We will report to council in the interim, but we need this expertise onstream now," added the other committee co-chair, Claire Tucker-Reid.
Councillor Dale West, one of two council representatives on the Parks, Recreation and Culture committee, noted the importance of moving the project ahead, given the town's rather tortured history of trying to build a multi-recreational facility.
"Nobody wants to be part of the (council) group that doesn't get it done, again," he said.