Brooke-Alvinston talks pavilion with Optimists


Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Dave Ferguson says council has better idea of the Alvinston Optimist’s pavilion project after meeting with the group.
But few members of the general public got to hear what went on during the special council meeting Sept. 16 because notice of the meeting wasn’t given to the public.
The meeting was not scheduled by the time council met Sept. 12 and it was not posted on the town’s website either.
Ferguson says, as mayor, he is able to hold a meeting “at the call of the chair” however the Ontario Municipal Act says municipalities must give some form of public notification 48 hours in advance of a meeting. That notice could be as simple as placing it on the public website of the municipality where it is readily accessible to the public.
Clerk-Administrator Janet Denkers, in an email to The Independent, said that didn’t happen because the town is “in the midst of a new website transition and staff away.”
The idea of erecting a pavilion at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre goes back years. Before he became a councillor, Jamie Armstrong came to council as a member of the Optimist Club proposing a massive renovation of the complex. The Optimist goal in 2015 was to raise enough money to renovate washrooms, dressing rooms build a new canteen, provide a heated viewing area, and build a pavilion in a project which was estimated to cost $1 million at the time.
But Armstrong and the Optimist grew frustrated as they applied for grants and failed to get funding. Armstrong pointed to the council putting money into other projects and not supporting the Optimist building project as one of the reasons the grants were rejected.
The project was broken into phases, but as that happened, the cost of construction climbed and the Optimist put fundraising on hold.
This summer, council agreed to work with Armstrong – now a councillor – and the club on a pavilion attached to the arena near the ball diamonds. Ferguson says the special council meeting was to “explore” the concept with the group. “We met with the building committee to hear their ideas…what each might see in the project.”
Ferguson says no motions were made at the meeting. “It was exploratory…(to see) what they want to see.”
Ferguson believes the clubs new plan of a pavilion with a washroom attached – in the range of $250,000 – is more palatable to the community. Ferguson says the concept was “run by” the recreation advisory board although its not clear if the group likes the plan. He wasn’t clear whether the group had given council on its position on the pavilion.