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MD postpones decision on Macleod arena funds

MD of Willow Creek council wants more information before it decides whether to fund upgrades at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
Council heard a presentation Wednesday from committee members Scott Norlin and Judy Walde.
Norlin said the intention is to combine the curling rink and ice rink concessions into one and upgrade the washrooms, including making them handicap accessible.
The committee had been dealing with MPE Engineering to establish a wish list, and settled on a blueprint.
The cost of the project will be $475,000. The drawings should be done by November, tenders should go out in January, a contractor will be in place by mid-February and work should start in April, lasting about six months.
This timeline is contingent on securing the funding.
The MD of Willow Creek and Town of Fort Macleod provided $80,000 through the Municipal Sponsorship Program of the provincial government.
Fort Macleod council agreed Oct. 11 to provide up to $100,000, and MD of Willow Creek council is being asked to match that.
The arena upgrade committee is applying for a $125,000 Community Facility Enhancement Program grant, and the curling and minor hockey associations are being asked to each contribute $25,000.
That leaves a balance owing of $20,000 to be raised from service clubs and other organizations.
Walde outlined the renovations, explaining the present arena concession will be converted into barrier-free washrooms.
An office space in the curling rink will be converted into a wheelchair platform and ramp allowing people to watch the ice rink through newly-installed windows. The washrooms in the curling rink will also be made barrier-free.
The concession will also be upgraded to serve both the arena and curling club.
MD of Willow Creek chief administrative officer Cynthia Vizzutti clarified that the project would have an unfunded liability of $145,000 if everyone asked to contribute funding is able to, and would be reduced to $20,000 if the provincial grant is received.
That means the Town of Fort Macleod and MD of Willow Creek would be asked to look after this shortfall.
In discussion after the delegation left, Coun. Ian Sundquist asked if the MD of Willow Creek’s $100,000 would come from a special levy assessed to residents of the municipality’s Fort Macleod recreation area.
Vizzutti replied that was the process used when the MD of Willow Creek funded community hall upgrades in Fort Macleod and Nanton.
Reeve Henry Van Hierden said he favoured the special levy but not the MD of Willow Creek carrying any of the unfunded liability because the town owns the building.
It was agreed before any decision is made to have administration do a tax report to determine how much the special levy would be and over how many years.

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