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Brock gives green light to Sunderland Arena renovation project


BROCK TOWNSHIP: The proposed renovation and expansion of the Sunderland Arena took a significant step forward recently, with councillors voting to proceed with the $10 million project.

The matter was back before councillors at their meeting on the morning of Monday, Aug. 14th following a lengthy debate at council’s July meeting surrounding several key areas such as the scale of the scale of the project, a potential timeline and settling on a budget amount.

“I would like to thank township staff for all of their hard work to date ahead of this historic day when we can finally make decisions to move this project forward,” commented Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell prior to requesting a recorded vote on staff’s recommendations for the project.

The staff report outlined key measures for the arena expansion and renovation including a budget target of $9.2 million to $10 million, the establishment of an arena sub-committee to lead the planning process leading up to the hiring of a project management firm, as well as a further project management committee that will work with the project management firm to deliver the project. The report also calls for council to provide direction for staff to discuss the possibility of de-scoping the project with the federal and provincial governments since the project is largely dependent on government grants.

Questioned about when the project will have shovels in the ground by Regional Councillor Mike Jubb, Township CAO Ingrid Svelnis noted that “there is still a lot of work left to be done, but much of the ‘heavy work’ has been taken care of” before ground can be broken by Spring 2024 but was optimistic that the township should be able to take several steps forward before the end of the year. Some of these tasks include the hiring of a project manager and liaising with the upper levels of government to ensure that the project still meets the criteria for funding if some features are removed due to cost. Ms. Svelnis also noted that working with user groups will be crucial “to help plan our priorities.”

Mayor Walter Schummer was careful to point out that “this is by no means the end.” The mayor added that several significant decisions still lie ahead relating to the scope of the project. “We’ve got a ways to go yet, this is likely step 126 out of 300,” added Mayor Schummer.

The recommendations in the staff report passed in a unanimous vote.

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