Township denied large grant for arena project
By Chad Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a June 13 Minden Hills committee-of-the-whole meeting.
Minden Hills was not approved for one of the grants it applied for in hopes of offsetting the cost of the arena renewal project, that grant application for $1 million.
A staff report from community services director Mark Coleman said the township was not approved for a grant application it submitted to the Enabling Accessibility Fund for work as part of the project.
The application was for the maximum request of $1 million.
“I believe the grant favours retrofits over new builds,” Coleman said in an email to the Times. “The arena project is about 80 per cent new and 20 per cent retrofit.” Coleman added there were more applications than available funding.
The grant was not part of the budget for the project, but rather would have decreased the size of the 30-year debenture the township is taking out to pay for it.
The project has a $13-million price tag and council has voted to borrow up to $12.5 million from Infrastructure Ontario for its completion, with a stipulation that any borrowing in excess of $11.9 million come back to the council table for approval. The project includes the construction of a new arena and gymnasium that will be attached to the Minden Hills Community Centre, and is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2020/21 ice season.
The township was successful in obtaining a $32,000 grant from Hydro One for the installation of energy-efficient features in the new building, which could be put towards items such as LED lighting, the building’s HVAC system, etc. Coleman will bring a report back to council regarding the allocation of that money.
New housing project proposed
There was a public meeting regarding a rezoning application that would change the zoning on a property along Bobcaygeon Road near McKnight Drive from commercial to a residential zoning to allow for the construction of a four-unit residential building. There was no opposition to the proposal.
Emergency procurement of sandbags
Council approved the emergency expenditure of nearly $14,000 that was spent on the purchase of 30,000 additional sandbags during flooding in April.
The Township of Minden Hills declared a flood-related state of emergency on April 24, that emergency status lifted on May 6. The township tries to keep an inventory of at least 30,000 sandbags on hand, and while that was the case this year, some 17,200 were filled outside the Minden Hills Community Centre, with an additional 15,400 taken away to be filled; 200 were filled and taken from the Kinmount roads yard; 600 filled and taken from Furnace Falls Park. At the peak of sandbagging operations this year, a report from roads director Travis Wilson showed that staff and volunteers filled 9,600 bags in one day.
Councillor Jean Neville asked if it was not possible to keep sandbags filled and stored to avoid having to go through the process of filling them each year. Wilson said that would require storage space, and also that the township does not have the equipment to move around skids full of sandbags.