By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner
Fix up the old, the new can wait.
City council will hear a deputation Monday opposing spending $590,000 improving Barrie Molson Centre’s dressing rooms — if the Colts’ 2014 Memorial Cup bid is successful — instead of upgrading Allandale Recreation Centre.
“(It’s wrong to spend) taxpayer dollars on (BMC) locker rooms that few local residents utilize while denying upgrades to the facilities (Allandale) held together by duct tape,” said Sue Ireland.
“(These are) facilities that local residents attempt to enjoy with their children on a regular basis, while that $590,000 expenditure of taxpayer dollars is at the sole pleasure (of) a local privately owned business, with no staff report or city-sourced documentation and justification to support it.”
Ireland says this council is, at the same time, either increasing fees for core services or telling residents to wait a year or two before receiving them.
Councillors gave initial approval Jan. 21 to spend $590,000 improving the BMC dressing rooms — if the Colts’ get the 2014 Memorial Cup and if the city can work out a new lease with the Ontario Hockey League club.
The current lease expires May 31, 2014.
Coun. John Brassard says about $350,000 of this expense can be found by deferring ceiling work and flooring upgrades at Allandale’s blue rink. A seating project worth $150,000 at the same arena will go ahead.
“It does transfer one community project to another,” he said. “But facilities are central to a successful bid for the Memorial Cup.”
“We’re only putting it (the Allandale work) off because we might get the Cup and a lease deal,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman.
Councillors also approved negotiating a capital recovery fee – representing at least half of the BMC capital costs — as part of the lease agreement or the Memorial Cup bid, such as adding a fee to ticket prices.
Coun. Lynn Strachan spoke against not doing all of the Allandale work.
“A Memorial Cup is one point in time,” she said. “People use the Allandale blue rink every day.”
A staff report on a new lease agreement with the Colts for use of the BMC, for no less than five years, is to be prepared by Feb. 15.
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