South Huron commits $7.5 million to new rec centre/community hub

SOUTH HURON — In a 5-2 recorded vote, South Huron council decided Monday night to commit $7.5 million towards a new recreation centre/community hub.

The motion commits the municipality to the construction of a new facility within the next five years, with $7.5 million to be debt financed for the project. The municipality hopes to raise another $5 million through fundraising, sponsorships and grants.

$12.5 million is an estimate that was discussed at the meeting, while $7.5 million represents the amount the municipality is willing to debt finance for it.

Voting in favour were Mayor Maureen Cole, Deputy Mayor David Frayne and councillors Craig Hebert, Ted Oke, and Wayne DeLuca. Voting against the motion were councillors Marissa Vaughan and Tom Tomes, who both represent the Stephen ward.

The motion passed last night also states that chief administrative officer Dan Best will proceed with the development of a request for proposal for a feasibility study for the project and that Best hold talks with the YMCA to determine that organization’s “level of interest and commitment for the community hub/recreation project and follow up with a report to council.”

Council discussed the new building for more than an hour at last night’s meeting, with some members expressing concern about the cost. Vaughan in particular said the feasibility study should be done before council commits to a new building.

Tomes said very few people from his ward want a “mega” project, although they would support a fix up to the existing South Huron Rec Centre.

“I think it will be a tough sell,” he said.

The issue of a new rec centre is something that has been discussed for several years, dating back to the previous term of council. The commitment to a new recreation centre/community hub comes just a couple of weeks after council decided to move forward with a $1.7 million upgrade to the Exeter outdoor pool, which includes a new washroom/changeroom facility.

More details to follow.