Muskoka Lakes Council has decided to defer a decision on bringing basketball court to Bala.
Council was presented with a tender to build a basketball half court in Bala. The cost of the project would total $74,500.
Councillor Allen Edwards asked about the possibility of a full court to allow for multiuse such as pickleball.
Director of Public Works Ken Becking stated that the cost of a full court would be an extra $50,000 from the half court price. He also stated that opting not to use the proposed softer acrylic surface would save $21,000 from the full court proposal.
Ward A Councillor Ruth-Ellen Nishikawa spoke out against the proposed court. Nishikawa stated that she had not heard of this proposal and that it should have been sent to committee for debate.
“I’m really disappointed that this came to Council. This type of item should have come to general finance and then we could have had a discussion and debate it,” Nishikawa said.
Nishikawa went on to say that the proposal was confusing given the discussion that took place last year over closing the Bala arena.
“Last year around this time we talked about closing down the arena in Bala. But now we’re saying let’s go and spend $75,000 on a basketball Court,” Nishikawa said.
Several councillors expressed confusion and said that they were unaware that this proposal would be before council.
Becking stated that the court had been proposed for several years and was approved by council in the 2022 municipal budget. He said that the proposal is before council on Wednesday because it is the body charged with awarding tenders.
Nishikawa stated that in her years on council she had heard small support for a location to play basketball. She said she previously supported this but not something as expensive as a full-length court.
“I never was expecting that we were going to spend $75,000 on full blown courts,” Nishikawa said.
She also stated that the public had no information about the proposed court.
“Council if you approve this today, the public doesn’t know what you’re doing,” Nishikawa said.
Nishikawa was joined by fellow Ward A councillor Glenn Zavitz in requesting a deferral to debate the proposal.
Councillor Susan Mazan, chairperson of the developing recreation master plan expressed support for the full-length court.
“I am very supportive of that kind of investment in recreation,” Mazan said.
The unimplemented recreation master plan was a key source of opposition among councillors who believed that this proposal should be tied into the larger plan for development of municipal recreation centres.
Council voted to defer the motion back to committee for discussion.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!