MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR Mayor Bobbie Drew, Township of Scugog: New Blackstock Community Centre first
Work for the draft 2020 Capital Budget and four year Capital forecast is underway and I would like to thank the residents who took time to respond to the budget survey and come out to the public open house last week. The amount of work to be carried out is dependent on funding from upper levels of government, reserve capacity and tax levy dedicated for road work. The full list of proposed projects is online at scugog.ca/budget. Over the last term and this term of Council, we have established financial reserves and evaluated the Township roads and facilities to create our list of projects. I want to assure residents that though we have prioritized a funding application for the Blackstock Community Centre, does not mean we have forgotten about our road needs or chosen this project over a pool. The roads, Blackstock Community Centre, the Lake Scugog Enhancement Project, the Animal Shelter, finding a sustainable use for the Old Mill and planning for a pool are all accounted for in our Strategic Plan and we are working towards all of the above. Council recently approved the pursuit of government funding to replace the 80 year old undersized and inefficient arena in Blackstock with a modern arena that will otherwise close in 1 to 3 years. If we receive funding, we can also create a new community centre with multi-purpose rooms, an indoor walking track and a gymnasium; offering alternative recreation choices right here in Scugog. So, why the Blackstock Recreation Complex? It was built in 1937 as an outdoor rink with community funds. Later covered, linked to the neighboring hall, dressing rooms and basement with refrigeration equipment added in 1977. However, this facility was identified in the Township Asset Management Plan and the 2018 Parks, Recreation, and Culture Strategic Master Plan for decommissioning due to its current condition. It is undersized and the Freon to run the refrigeration will no longer be available after 2020.
One of 10 guiding principles in the Master Plan identified Port Perry and Blackstock as central locations to provide recreation and culture services to the entire community. The plan considered the large geographic size of the Township and recommends that facility development should be focused in these two locations. The previous and current Council has consistently supported the role of the Blackstock site as one of two needed locations. Using the grant application for immediate repairs will not change or improve the state of the facility. It will remain as is with no expansion or alternative indoor programming. The new proposed facility will include much more than just an arena, it will provide space for a wide variety of recreational, cultural and community programs and events for the entire Township. Averaging a 12 minute travel time, the facility will not only service residents from the eastern area of the Township but also Scugog Island to the western side of the Township. The construction will be paid through a successful grant, the money we collect from developers through development charges dedicated to the Blackstock Community Centre and some community fund raising – not using tax dollars. It will cover any increases in operational costs for a new facility through estimated assessment growth and user fees. To be able to construct both the Blackstock Community Centre and a municipal pool, the Township has started planning and setting aside funds in a major facilities reserve established through the Reserve and Reserve Fund Policy, approved by Council in December 2018. Plans for a pool are on the horizon with preliminary design, public consultation process, feasibility study and operating plan anticipated to begin in 2023.