Council committed to rebuild of Dunbar Recreation Centre


“We made a commitment to these people,” said South Dundas deputy-mayor Jim Locke, “and I personally don’t want to go back on my word.”

Locke was one of many who spoke in favour of moving forward with the rebuilding of the Dunbar Recreation Centre at the June 26th South Dundas council meeting.

Since its fatal brush with fire on October 8, 2011, the recreation centre has been facing a slow-moving recovery process.

Demolition and removal of the charred remains were approved by council at their November 1, 2011 meeting.

A month later, on December 6th, the decision to rebuild was debated by council. While the vote wasn’t unanimous, it was decided that Dunbar Recreation Centre would be rebuilt.

Since December, at almost every council meeting, deputy-mayor Jim Locke has persistently requested updates on the progress of the recreation centre. Delays were reported due to various reasons, the last of which was the need for a status report on the present sewage system.

On June 26th, manager of planning and enforcement Don Lewis informed council that the status report on the requirements for upgrading the septic system was complete.

The report, prepared by Kollaard Associates, recommended the abandonment of the existing sewage tank and the installation of two new tanks, a 5,376 gallon tank and a 2,974 gallon balancing tank. The existing septic bed will be used.

According to Lewis, the report was sent to South Nation Conservation for approval. 

In response, “South Nation Conservation has reported that they will issue a ‘conditional permit’ with the condition that a water meter be installed and that our consultant monitors these readings from the well for one year to justify daily flows are accurate.”

Lewis estimated the cost of the changes to be in the range of $19,907 plus taxes.

Following Lewis’ report, councillor Evonne Delegarde said, “I would like to have staff give us a quote on the buy-out as opposed to the rebuild. It was only used about 10 times in 18 months.”

She then suggested that those residents who used the hall prior to the fire could, going forward, use the old Elma Public school instead. It has rooms available, she reported, and it’s an “alternative spot that’s not that far away.”

In response, councillor Archie Mellan said, “it’s an expense, but this is the deal you get when something burns.”

“The residents down there have supported the township,” he continued, “and it’s time to support them. The hall is worth it.”

“I think we should rebuild,” agreed mayor Steven Byvelds. “We committed earlier on that we were going to rebuild it.”

After reaffirming the commitment to rebuild, the discussion took another turn. 

The focus became a question of how to move forward with the actual build.

Staff had suggested hiring one firm to design and build the hall, but Locke objected: “Why would we not have a plan? I think we should have a plan.”

Byvelds, adding to Locke’s concern, asked if committee members from Dunbar Recreation Centre had been consulted for input on the design. They hadn’t.

The discussion ended with the following resolutions in place:

• Dunbar Recreation Centre will be rebuilt.

• Two new sewage tanks will be installed. First, a request for quotations will be posted. Second, council will approve the selection of a company to do the work. 

• Staff will return to council with procedural options concerning the planning and rebuilding of the recreation centre.

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