Warwick residents more likely to contribute to new hall than renovated Centennial


It appears there is more support to build a new community centre in Watford than there is to renovate Centennial Hall.
Earlier this year, a consultant told Warwick Council the 50 year-old community hall is not up to code and suggested it should be closed instead of sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into it.
He suggested community events could be accommodated in either the Warwick Hall or the local arena. That caused concern from groups in Watford who wanted Centennial to remain open. Members of the local gun club, which has a shooting range in the basement, are also concerned. They say it would be next to impossible to replicate what they have in Centennial Hall.
The consultant also suggested building a new hall instead of renovating Centennial.
So council consulted with the groups, holding special meetings, taking surveys and walking people through lists of questions.
What they found was more people seemed to support a new building, focusing on recreation and some sports, that renovating the current hall.
A report to council from Chief Administrative Officer Amanda Gubbels says 59 per cent of the individuals wanted a multi-use facility which would accommodate small banquets, meetings and some recreational activity, such as an indoor walking track. Two-thirds of the user groups asked for that option. Most individuals wanted a full kitchen (74 per cent) in the building and 43 per cent said there should be an event room that could hold up to 300 people.
The survey also showed about 50 per cent of the people asked would contribute to the restoration of Centennial Hall while more people – 62 per cent – would contribute to a new hall. That number increased dramatically when service clubs were consulted.
All the service clubs indicated they would be willing to raise money for a new building, estimated between $3 million and $5 million.
Gubbels added the Sarnia-Lambton YMCA heard about the township’s survey and “expressed an interest in exploring partnership opportunities.”
And the municipality also asked residents what they thought of providing cash (up to $160,000) to help the gun club re-establish itself.
That had limited support.
Gubbels is recommending council ask staff to investigate the cost and options for a new multi-use community centre for the 2018. It also would look at the cost of demolishing Centennial Hall.
She’s also suggesting staff meet with the gun club and the YMCA to talk about options for the future.
Council tabled the report Monday since Councillor Jerry Westgate, who has been on the recreation committee for years, was not present. Mayor Todd Case also wanted to give the public a chance to look at the report and voice their option to councillors. before the next meeting.