Council is advancing a project to build a covered entrance at the Bracebridge Sportsplex but it isn’t the preferred option for all councillors.
During the latest Town Council meeting it was agreed that $450,000 should be included in the draft budget for the project, but some felt it was a half-measure and wouldn’t do much to address issues at the Sportsplex.
Currently the entrance to the Sportsplex is a steel post and beam decorative timber pergola. According to a staff report, the structure is not a cover, nor does it protect the entranceway from the natural elements.
Staff say they continually receive complaints from seniors, individuals with mobility issues and parents with young children that the entranceway is not accessible, especially in the winter months.
When it snows, Sportsplex maintenance staff are pulled away from their duties inside the
facility in order to clear the walkway of snow and ice, putting pressure on staff resources.
Mark Quemby said the plan didn’t go far enough and a fully covered walkway or heated walkway would address the problem.
“By doing half a job you’re not going to be helping at all,” said Quemby.
He said snow will simply blow under the smaller roof, and a heated walkway has been in use successfully at Chancery Lane since 1975.
Staff said a heated walkway was considered but Chancery Lane costs roughly $14,000/year to keep heated. Staff said heated walkways are inefficient with temperatures under -10 and they’d need sand and salt anyway but Quemby said it didn’t seem to be a problem on Chancery Lane.
Cindy O’Regan, Director of Recreation, said having a fully covered walkway would cost roughly triple the amount.
Coun. Don Smith said he had a problem with the cost as it was. He said the money could be better spend elsewhere.
Nonetheless, the motion was passed by the majority of council, with the exception of Coun. Smith and Quemby, and it will now be moved forward to the draft budget.
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