By John McPhee
There seems to be some disagreement between Brockton’s top two elected officials as to the future of a new multi-use administration and recreational centre.
In New Year interviews, Mayor David Inglis told The WHT that the decision has been made to build the complexes and soccer fields in East Ridge Business Park.
Last May the municipality issued a news release that announced ERBP as the winning site.
“As part of the site selection process for the municipal complex, the ad hoc committee and Brockton Council have evaluated several possible sites in the municipality over the last two-and-a-half years and as a result… the municipal complex will be located in the East Ridge Business Park,” the release said.
“It’s just a matter of where on that site (the administration building, recreation centre, and soccer fields) will go,” the mayor said last week.
The next step, Inglis said, will be to look at the tenders received for hiring a project management team/consultant. The mayor said that the project manager is needed to “provide oversight” on the project including the possible hiring of an architect.
However, Inglis said it will all come down to costs. “We need to look at the costs and what they can do for us,” he said, adding they might not go with a management team at all.
Inglis said there are no projected costs for the multi-use complex or any part of the concept but promised the facility “won’t be a Taj Mahal. It will be efficient and it will be around for a very long time,” he added, suggesting the debenture for the entire project could be spread out over 40 years. Inglis also noted that borrowing is very affordable at the moment. “We can get two per cent interest,” he said, noting that was an excellent rate for municipalities.
However, Deputy-Mayor Roland Anstett isn’t so sure the project should even continue at its current site in ERBP.
“I still support buying the property, but that doesn’t mean we have to build (the complex) there,” Anstett said, adding he’s heard from local merchants who are upset at the location. “They’re worried that we’re sending shoppers right out of town. They could just carry on to Hanover,” he said. The deputy-mayor said he’s heard about two different petitions being circulated against the project, though he hasn’t seen anything as yet.
Anstett, who called the building of a multi-use centre “the biggest challenge” facing council in 2013, said more public input is needed.
“We need to ensure there is lots of consultation with the public,” he said. “We have to deal with this properly or we could all be kicked out (in the 2014 municipal election).”
Anstett also questioned whether a new municipal office was even needed. “I don’t know if we can afford it now,” he said.
The deputy-mayor vowed to push for more openness on the issue and will seek more disclosure and debate with the public. “I’m not sure we’ve done that to this point,” he added.
Council will review tenders received for the management team and a decision is expected by the end of the month.