Ste. Anne Town Council has some big decisions to make regarding the Maurice Chaput Arena and the curling club.
Mayor Yvan St. Vincent says the aging infrastructure requires significant upgrades to remain operational.
“All the machinery that goes into the ice plant is in excess of 40 years old, it's on its last leg,” he says. “As a matter of fact, it's the reason we opened our arena late this year, because the maintenance/operations folks in town had to patch it together to keep it going for another winter. And we know there's going to be some large costs in there.”
St. Vincent says the arena and curling rink need more than just a little TLC.
“Many of our infrastructure is aging and the cost to repair is just prohibitive in the sense that if we just taxed our town residents, it would be an enormous tax hit to them,” he explains. “And at the same time, that's also not fair in the sense that they're not the only ones using it, we're sharing it with other neighboring municipalities.”
The mayor says it is great to have facilities that can serve the region and he is hopeful they can find a way to continue offering recreational opportunities.
“We have a strong curling group now, the folks who have been leading up the curling in the last several years have really grown it in Ste. Anne, and that's fantastic,” he notes. “The overwhelming problem is, let's use curling for example, it's made-up of residents from a variety of municipalities, which is outstanding. But at the end of the day, when there's cost overruns or equipment needs to be fixed, that burden typically falls on the town residents only. And that's just something we're trying to find a solution for, so that we can all work together, and all keep these things going for everyone.”
St. Vincent says it is inspiring to see other communities find success with funding to construct recreation and community centres. He points out that big projects take many years of conversation and planning before any shovels can go in the ground.
“So, I think the important thing is to start the conversation, knowing that these things take time, but they have to start somewhere. And that's exactly what we're trying to do, we're just trying to start that conversation with our local governments as well as with our residents and our neighboring residents.”
He says council has planned an open house meeting to share details with the public.
“Often when these things happen, you get a lot of information out there, some is accurate and some is not,” St. Vincent says. “We just want to share all the factual information and get input from residents and neighboring residents on what would be fair, and everyone's opinion on how to proceed with this to make sure that we don't lose all these recreation opportunities, particularly our arena and curling, which for many of us is the hub of the community.”
The public is invited to attend an open house meeting on February 8th at 7pm.
“The invitation is open to anyone, specifically if they access our recreation in town whether that's the arena or curling or even some of the summer programs and all the other great stuff that our recreation director puts on.”
While the meeting is open to anyone, the town is asking people to RSVP, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org , so they know how many people are expected to attend.
“What they're going to get when they come is just an honest description of what some of the struggles and tribulations we have with our rec, the cost overruns that are involved and we're going to be sharing some possible solutions,” St. Vincent says. “We also have our ears wide open, hoping to hear some solutions that are viable and fair for everyone who's involved.”