by Colin Smith
A new Ray McDonald Sports Center (RMSC) outdoor hockey rink is among four projects selected by Town Council to take advantage of about $1.1 million in provincial government infrastructure funding Morinville is eligible for.
Along with the new rink, with a price tag of $395,000, the other projects are curb extensions on 100 Avenue ($530,000), trail construction along 100 Street north of 105 Avenue ($85,000), and a new RMSC destination building ($285,000).
Council made the decision at its regular meeting Tuesday. The projects were selected from a list of 10 presented by Administration, and reflected Councillors’ desire for a balance between recreation and safety purposes.
Funds totalling $1,175,972 will come through the Alberta government’s Municipal Stimulus Program.
“There was a lot that could be done with this,” said Mayor Barry Turner. “I think we have arrived at a great solution going forward.”
Councillor Lawrence Giffin noted that these projects fit the stimulus program’s mandate in not being something the Town was going to do anyway.
“These are all projects that we would not do without the stimulus money,” he said.
The total cost of the four projects will exceed the stimulus funding for which Morinville is eligible. So the Town will top up the funds for the projects with photo enforcement revenue from the Safety Initiative Reserve, in the case of the trail construction, and other sources.
Good, better and best options were presented for the rink/multi-sport facility and destination building, with costs rising to match.
So too with other recreation-oriented projects that did not make Council’s cut: replacement of the splash park and construction of missing shared-use trail linkages. Renovation of the tennis court was another possibility.
The “best” configuration was chosen for the outdoor hockey rink / multi-sport facility. The rink, now in a dilapidated state, will have a new concrete base, new boards and team benches.
It is also intended for all-season use, as a venue for basketball, pickleball and other sports.
The rink is expected to have a lifespan of 30 years or more and will have lower maintenance costs than the current structure.
For the RMSC destination building, which will replace the utility trailer and shed currently on the site, Council went with the “Better” option.
The new building will be a custom-built 1,900-square-foot facility. It will feature a 1,000-square-foot viewing area with a raised, accessible platform, commercial-grade washrooms, rubberized flooring and an HVAC system. A 400-square-foot maintenance garage will also be constructed.
It’s expected that some projects Council has not picked to go ahead with using Municipal Stimulus Program money—such as splash park replacement, expected to cost between $246,000 and $395,000—will be funded through the 2021 capital budget process.
October 1 is the deadline for project applications. Construction must start this year or next, and the funding allocated for accepted projects must be spent by December 31, 2021.
The $1.1 million is Morinville’s share of $500 million in infrastructure funding to be provided to communities that was announced by the Provincial Government in June as part of the Alberta Recovery Plan.
The Province estimates that the program, boosting municipal infrastructure funding by almost 30 per cent, will create an estimated 2,500 jobs through the projects.