Update: Council unanimously approved this item at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.
During last week’s committee meetings, the Committee of the Whole received a report from staff on the New Skyway Community Centre upgrades that detailed some updates on the design and costing of the new centre, as well as to confirm the scope of the project.
Committee carried the following directions that will head to Monday’s (Sept. 23) Council meeting for a final vote:
- Direct the Executive Director of Capital Works and the Director of Parks and Recreation to report back on the Class B1 costing for the new Skyway Community Centre based on the conceptual design as outlined in report capital works department report CW-48-19; and
- Direct the Executive Director of Capital Works to review the new Skyway Community Centre project for inclusion in the 2020 Capital Budget based on the estimated costing; and
- Direct the Office of the City Manager to seek any additional senior government and other funding opportunities for the new Skyway Community Centre should they arise.
Click the link to read the full staff report: CW-48-19 New Skyway Arena and Community Centre – Class B Costing Approval Report.
Background and Discussion:
The existing Skyway Arena is a 22,000 square foot building originally constructed in 1974. The facility has a substandard small ice surface and the building does not meet current design requirements for accessibility. In addition, the refrigeration system utilizes Freon, a hydro chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), as a refrigerant in its refrigeration plant. Under the Canadian Environment Protection Act, there is a schedule to phase out HCFCs due to their environmental impacts. The phase out of large Freon equipment and manufacturing facilities has already begun and that the refrigeration system needs to be decommissioned or converted to an ammonia system.
Based on the comments received at the Lakeside Community Visioning Session in November 2015 (where the community reconfirmed their desires for a new community centre including an arena, social gathering spaces and a walking track), Council approved the following recommendation in report PR-13-16: “Approve Option 4 for the revitalization of Skyway Arena that was developed by staff as outlined in Report PR-13-16 dated December 12, 2016, subject to Capital Budget approvals.”
Option 4 included:
- A full-size ice pad;
- Six Dressing Rooms;
- Cold and Warm viewing areas;
- 1 Community Room; and
- Outdoor community space.
Based on budget constraints staff did not recommend a walking track at that time. In December 2018, City of Burlington awarded an Architectural Consulting Services Contract to Lennox Architects (RFP-234-18) to provide a completed design package and contract administration for this new facility and associated park. In April 2019 Council approved $1.5 million of one-time Federal Gas Tax funding for this project that allowed the facility design to include an additional community room (for a total of 2 rooms) and a 140-metre, 3-lane indoor walking track.
This increased the forecasted estimated total budget to $15.4 million at that time. In April 2019, Council declared the Climate Emergency for the City of Burlington that:
- Recognized the strategic plan targets for city operations to be net carbon neutral by 2040 and to work towards being a net carbon neutral community; and,
- Confirmed that Council and staff immediately increase the priority of the fight against climate change and apply a climate lens to the plans and actions of the City of Burlington.
I support what we have here. if there is an opportunity to look at different configurations or gym sizes, I’d be open to that. We don’t want to be penny wise, pound foolish here – that was a lesson for me back when I was a councillor that sometimes when we’re watching our pennies, we losing sight of the community and its future needs. We don’t want to overdo it, but this was initially envisioned as community rooms. So when we hear we can have our community rooms and pickle ball, simply by increasing the height of the ceiling, that’s exactly the type of thinking that we want in this space.
I’m very happy to hear about the larger rink, love the outdoor park, the adaptive use of the wood, the islands in the parking lot — the amount of thoughtfulness that has gone into this is just great. This is putting our money where our mouth is. This is saying, we didn’t just pass a climate emergency declaration, we’re actually going to dig deep and make sure our decisions reflect that goal. And yes, it will cost a few more dollars, as separate thing we have to make sure we a live to cost escalation every year; making sure we update our 10-year capital to make sure we’re not bit by things like this. But we can sort that piece out.
This is an excellent asset to the community. We need a lot of different assets across our city for people and particularly that gathering space. I’m interested in what the community has to say about this. I think as a Council, we have to invest in this.