Bracebridge town councillors are throwing their support behind plans to transform the Memorial Arena into affordable housing.
The project is just one of the many projects included in the Downtown Master Plan, which was approved by council last week, but it’s one that appears to be of particular importance to council as the region grapples with the ongoing affordable housing crisis.
During the most recent Bracebridge council meeting, several councillors singled out the transformation of the Arena as a particularly important piece of the downtown puzzle.
The Downtown Master Plan was prepared by Brook McIIroy, who said that the public feedback they conducted as part of the plan indicated a major concern locally is the lack of affordable housing in downtown Bracebridge
“The Memorial Arena site has a generous footprint that, if redeveloped, could
provide various forms of market and affordable housing to the community,” reads the report.
The consultants said the site could include a range of housing types, including eight, 3-storey townhomes and a 4-storey apartment building. The apartment building could potentially include retail/commercial on the ground floor, with residential units above.
They go on to say the site could also have green space and a daycare.
The consultants also took into consideration the skate park, which sits adjacent to the arena. They said as part of the overall site plan, the skate park will remain in its current location. The
area surrounding the skate park will see landscape improvements to increase usability,
recreational options, and accessibility. A multi-use sports court, water fountain, shade structure, washroom building and additional seating are additional recommended features.
They peg the cost of the youth park improvements at roughly $500,000.
Under the plan, the Arena site is expected to be financed and developed by a third party, such as a private sector developer or a housing agency, that would purchase the site from the Town of Bracebridge. They expect the Memorial Arena Site residential development to cost roughly $21.2 million.
The arena redevelopment is being considered in Phase 2 of the Downtown Master Plan, which is expected to begin in three to five years, pending the timely construction of the new arena on Salmon Ave.
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