Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson managed to stickhandle his way past his colleagues and get the extra $750,000 funding to upgrade Spring Valley Arena’s dressing rooms.
Despite some concern from a few councillors that Ferguson’s request to use development charges to fund part of the $1.2 million project, politicians agreed at their July 11 council meeting to back the project.
Last month Ferguson discovered the cost of the planned renovations of Spring Valley Arena’s dressing rooms and washrooms had spiraled upward from about $400,000 to over $1 million.
“I was surprised at the cost too,” said Ferguson.
Earlier this year council, at Ferguson’s urging, approved $400,000 for the project. For the last few years Ancaster minor hockey association officials have raised concerns about the poor conditions of the 40-year-old arena’s washrooms and dressing rooms.
Ferguson, who has described the dressing rooms as in “poor shape,” said there are some teams that refuse to play at the arena because of the state of the washrooms. The dressing rooms are about 35 per cent smaller than dressing rooms in other similar facilities.
Ancaster minor hockey officials had proposed reconfiguring the four existing dressing rooms to create two larger areas for teams, a referees’ room, upgrades to the dressing room and public washrooms and lobby area. Ferguson said there would also be improvements made to the HVAC system.
Rome D’Angelo, director facilities management and capital programs, said the city has hired an architect and a request for proposals is scheduled to be issued late in the summer or early fall.
He said depending on the tenders, the city may upgrade other parts of the facility, including the boiler, the penalty box and the exhaust system.
“It depends upon how favourable the bids are,” said D’Angelo. “It’s a tired facility that needs attention. We have set it as a priority.”
In the city’s recreation study, Spring Valley had been identified as an arena that should be closed in the future. But D’Angelo said that recommendation has been revised because of the need for arenas in the Ancaster area.
“We are investing in Spring Valley,” he said.
Some councillors remained uneasy about how the project was being funded. Mountain councillor Scott Duvall, who opposed the motion, said it was “jumping the cue” ahead of other worthy area upgrades.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing,” said Duvall. “There are many other arenas that are in need.”
Mike Zegarac, general manager of corporate finances, said funding the arena upgrades by using development charges is a proper use of the money. The additional money won’t involve the tax levy, said Ferguson, and D’Angelo assured politicians the Ancaster project didn’t “jump the cue.”