Council workshop on Central Park planned 0
COLLINGWOOD - Council will do a workshop on the Central Park multi-use facility proposal, as it prepares to decide whether it will hand over the work of sounding out the market on a public-private partnership to a consultant.
Last Monday, council deferred a motion to hire Deloitte and Touche to carry out that work, after several councillors expressed reservations to spend $43,000 on a consultant; council did approve a motion to create a second committee on the project that would specifically be tasked to determine how to pay for the $35-million proposal.
The facility would include two indoor ice surfaces, a competition-level swimming pool, and be tied into the YMCA and curling club, with community space. The existing ball diamonds at Central Park would be moved to a location still to be determined, while the lawn bowling club would remain.
The committee is expected to report back in September.
In March, councillors approved of the recommended scenario in principle, subject to funding.
The recommendations approved in March also instructed municipal staff to explore public-private partnerships to attract investment capital.
The motion to hire Deloitte and Touche was withdrawn by its mover, Councillor Keith Hull, who instead suggested council take part in a "strategic workshop" related to Central Park.
"Anytime you're dealing with a $34-million opportunity, it behooves us to work together... in the best interest of the community," said Hull.
A date for the workshop has not been determined, though it would likely be a Monday night.
"I felt that with what happened in the past (with the debate over the previous multi-use facility proposal), and the importance of this particular project, it is in the best interest that we as a council, and the new management team, meet to have an open conversation about the project," Hull told the E-B.
That would allow people to raise concerns, provide comments, and have an opportunity "so that we can try and work through (the issues) and get something accomplished."
That, he said, is preferable to "finding out at the 11th hour we're not on the same page and having the project scuttled."
Hull said in his opinion, hiring a consultant to conduct the market sounding was the right approach - though he recognizes the need for council to reach a consensus on the direction to take.
"It behooves us to have that conversation, and we're not going to have that opportunity sitting there on a regular Monday night," said Hull. "This is not about leveraging people to make a decision; at $34 million, it may be the most significant public investment of the last 40 years, and likely the next 40 years, and it's important that we get it right."