Million dollar expansion of The Centre to take three-year

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Plans are in the works for a three-year, million dollar expansion of the Oil Heritage District Community Centre.

The Centre recently was awarded a $135,000 grant from the Alix Foundation for phase one of the project. At the time, the expansion had only been briefly outlined in a Buildings and Structures Report, but not discussed publically by council. The report stated The Centre planned a $800,000 studio renovation project in 2017.

But a report to council shows the cost of the expansion will be more than that – $1,081,028 including the cost for engineers to plan the project.

The plan calls for two multi purpose studios to accommodate groups of 20 for classes. The addition would also include two new change rooms, separate from the pool area, a meeting room for up to 50 people, and additional storage space.

The plan also replaces the “aging gymnasium floor” in the 10-year-old facility, according to a report submitted to council.

This year, MIG Engineering will design the addition and the gymnasium floor. Another $5,000 will be set aside in a fund to provide financial assistance to those wanting to use The Centre but can’t afford to.

The town will be contributing $35,000.

Mayor John McCharles, during a brief discussion about the project at council Monday, said it was “delightful” the Alix Foundation had invested in the community and “looks forward to helping us expand our project.

“Hopefully, with this money we can put in a new floor and also look at a new floor and put in the planning for an expansion…(the grant) put it (the project) on the table now and look at the project down the road… sets our sights for something in the future.”

McCharles told The Independent the idea of expanding The Centre had not been discussed by council formally, although councillors were aware of the expansion project and the grant request because it was a “spur of the moment thing. “It was a matter in the vision meeting we had (in early April); there was talk about it but nothing formal.”

He added there “has been talk about some kid of expansion there for some time.”

Councillor Ross O’Hara says the project  has not been “set in stone yet” but adds “I wouldn’t see any reason why council wouldn’t approve it if they had received funding for it; it is pretty generous funding. I don’t have a problem with the way it has gone. I am a little bit surprised we weren’t kept up-to-date with it a little more but we still have the right to turn it down if we want…I don’t know all the fine details, that’s for sure but it appears as though it is a very good project.”

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