The Arena/Multi-Use Recreation Facility Project Large User Group General Public Meeting took place on October 28th. About 120 people showed up. Good crowd. Open format. Plenty of opportunity for questions.
Time to “vision” and get “excited”.
Lets’ get rolling. How much money do we have? You know… for the “visioning” and getting “excited” part.
We have $13.75 million budgeted for the project… with a borrowing limit of $22 million. The Chamber of Commerce President asks if the $13.75 million is part of the $22 million borrowing limit. There is a long answer.
Those of us with an almost visceral aversion to meetings with long names… have also developed an unfortunate skepticism for really long answers to very short questions.
How much money do we have? Unclear.
How many paying partnerships do we have? Unclear.
We are told that this project has been the “number one priority” for over two years.
We are also told that it is important to be prudent and responsible with tax dollars.
One brave soul asks if there will be two sheets of ice. Nope.
Another intrepid citizen asks if there will be a curling rink. Lots of words. Felt like a nope.
One clear answer surfaces eventually. This project is to be “phased”. Phase “A” is an arena… with one sheet of ice.
Yep. One sheet of ice. Some attendees looked unfazed by the news. Others looked tazed.
There was a whole thing about “phases” and how “phases” with numbers are different than phases with letters. Don’t ask.
There were no details on other “phases”. There was no talk of longer term budget strategies for capital allocation targets to pay for other “phases” over time. There were no details on a fully completed multi-use facility.
It felt like “Prudent” and “Responsible” had left the room.
In short? The October 28th meeting did not unveil any plan for the completely phased build-out of a multi-use facility by 2017… or 2018… 2022… or 2025 for that matter.
There are Councillors who have insisted on an open process. They deserve our gratitude.
They also deserve proper planning from Administration. Does a costed and phased draft proposal for the completion and operation of a multi-use project even exist? Unclear.
Maybe there still is a multi-use recreation facility in Morinville’s future.
Saw a T-shirt this summer. “I’m not a pessimist. I’m just an optimist with experience.”
Paul G. O’Dea