News Local

Petawawa Civic Centre is still in good shape

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

 

PETAWAWA – The Civic Centre may be getting old but the crown jewel of Petawawa is nonetheless aging gracefully.

During budget deliberations Thursday, staff informed councillors that the 45-year-old facility is in good shape for a building its age, however, money needs to be set aside to upgrade the infrastructure thus ensuring it has a long future serving the recreation needs of the community.

Parks and recreation manager Kelly Williams requested council put $250,000 into reserves to pay for the eventual replacement of the Civic Centre's arena floor and boards, a project he estimated will cost $800,000. With that amount, the total reserve for the arena would have been up to $774,357. In addition, the arena's refridgeration system, which includes a chiller and condenser, will need to be replaced at a cost of $165,000. Williams anticipated if council stayed on track in terms of setting aside money they could schedule the reconstruction of the arena floor for 2020.

He explained that the “50-year lifespan” that is often attached to the facility comes from the asset management plan which uses the figure noting a building such as the Civic Centre would have a lifespan lasting five decades. But the centre has been well looked after, he added.

“The reason it looks so good is we have been making capital improvements and added some nice things that you don't see in other arenas,” said Williams.

Any price tag to replace the Civic Centre would be enormous. A 2015 assessment of municipal facilities conducted by the public works department concluded that it would cost $1.32 million over the next 20 years just to maintain the building to an acceptable standard. However, Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns said there is a misconception, drive partly by reports in the media, that the Civic Centre is in dire need.

“I don't think that building has to be replaced,” said Mohns. “The facility is in great shape and we have get rid of this myth that the Civic Centre is done and it needs to be replaced.”

“You wouldn't know it was 45 years old,” remarked Mayor Bob Sweet who credited the efforts of the Petawawa Fundraising Committee will contributing the money needed for crucial upgrades over the years. “We have been proactive in planning for contingencies.”

Council ultimately scaled back the amount of money going into the arena reserve for this year to $100,000. Williams expressed concern that the longer the work is put off there is a risk of a water break that could shut down the arena altogether. If they scheduled the work for 2020 the department could give notice to their users, which includes hockey leagues, skating and curling clubs.

Space on the grounds of the Civic Centre is another pressing challenge. Staff estimates it will cost $200,000 for a new storage facility at the Civic Centre to accommodate the mobile stage, kayak and stand-up paddle canoes, support boats and the existing fleet of trucks and mowers.

SChase@postmedia.com