Alvinston Optimist want to build new canteen, dressing rooms

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The original concept drawing of the Alvinston Optimist arena redevelopment including a pavilion seen to the right of the photo

The Alvinston Optimists are moving on to their next project to improve the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre, but it is not clear whether they will be able to get any grant money for it this time around.

Les Douglas of the Optimist Building Committee came to council Aug. 12 with plans for replacing the canteen and renovating a dressing room at the building.

“We have some good news that the pavilion, thanks to a donation, has been paid off and the Optimist club owes nothing,” Douglas told councillors.

“With that being said, we would like to move on with our phase two, which includes the canteen and a new dressing room and a hallway to join the pavilion to the arena and the back dressing room.”

Douglas said the club wanted to apply for a federal grant. The deadline had passed in July, however, Douglas told council the Alvinston submission would still be considered, just not on a priority basis.

“If we were successful in our application for this grant, we’re optimistic that we would be in a strong position to build this phase two.

The dressing room is going to be roughly 22 by 33 feet and the canteen would be roughly 30 by 30. … Construction will begin on the condition that the grant is received with the necessary funds,” says Douglas.

The Optimist plan to start fundraising immediately for the project which could be as much as $500,000.

They already have a good start. Douglas says nine groups which use the arena voiced their support for the upgrades and there have been donations and loans of $114,500 pledged already. That would cover the Optimists portion of the renovation.

Deputy Mayor Frank Nemcek, who is also a member of the Optimist, noted that $114,500 was about 30 per cent of the project cost.

But Mayor Dave Ferguson voiced some concern about the project. “We have not yet seen drawings and diagrams for the dressing rooms and pavilion as such staff would have to peruse those and come back to council with those and have discussions at that time,” said Ferguson, urging Nemcek and Councillor Jamie Armstrong, another Optimist member, to give notice of the discussion to take place at the next meeting.

Armstrong wanted council to give the group the okay to apply for the grant right away.
“$500 million across Canada is going to run out pretty quick,” Armstrong told council.

“And with the election coming up, the intake of this grant is probably going to end as soon as the writ is dropped and I just would like to say that I support the Optimist for what they’re doing.”

Douglas also worried what a two week delay would mean. “I don’t want to let it (the grant application) go. We already missed the initial intake, which puts you on a priority list. I want to get going on this.”

But in the end, council agreed to look at the issue during the next meeting when the plans have been viewed by staff.

Since the discussion, a federal election was called. It’s not clear what effect that will have on the process.