Reconstructing Pembroke's marina washrooms 0
Pembroke’s finance and administration committee has given its permission for staff to try and obtain grant money to help pay for the reconstruction of the marina washroom facility.
The application will cost nothing to submit, and whether they proceed with the project will depend on if they are successful in getting the money. The deadline to apply is October.
Doug Sitland, the city’s operations manager, said on Aug. 22, 2012, the federal government announced it would receive applications for funding support under its Enabling Accessibility Fund - Small Project Component, which allows those eligible to improve existing infrastructure.
He said after examining the criteria, the only project which would qualify is the marina washrooms, which also includes showers and laundry facilities. The facility, used mainly by boaters visiting the city, is in need of work to make it fully accessible in order to meet provincial regulations.
“This project had funding dedicated to it from previous years, but these funds had to be reallocated for other corporate priorities,” Mr. Sitland said.
To reconstruct the washroom facility (including design work and contingencies) would cost an estimated $195,000, he continued, with the maximum amount they could get from the federal program being $50,000. The rest of the money would have to come from the city, but the operations manager said they would be seeking partners to assist in covering their share.
Council members were interested in the idea and agreed an application should be made, but all felt they needed to discuss it further before settling on a final design of the facility.
Coun. Terry O’Neill wondered whether such a facility would be too excessive considering it is meant mainly for the use of visiting boaters. Coun. Pat Lafreniere agreed, saying she would prefer to see any work on the washrooms restricted to making them accessible, or if funding permits, to add more of them, rather than having laundry and showers.
That would better serve the public, she said.
Coun. Gary Severin wondered if the facility could be relocated so it was closer to the amphitheatre area, again to better serve the public which lacks washroom facilities there, while also covering the marina. Coun. Dan Callaghan said the work will have to be done in order to comply with accessibility regulations. He added in his job with the Pembroke Handi-Bus, washroom access is an issue to the seniors he takes down to the amphitheatre from Marianhill and Miramichi Lodge.
Mayor Ed Jacyno wondered if the new college could be pressed into service and allow its washrooms to be available for public use, considering they received a $2.6 million grant of taxpayers dollars to improve accessibility on campus.
Coun. Les Scott, the head of the committee, said there is a lot of good ideas and options to discuss, but tonight all they had to do is agree to apply for the grant. The committee as a whole agreed, and voted to let staff begin to apply.
Should the funding application be successful, the city would have to commit to finding the shortfall for the project in the 2013 capital budget.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist