Alma hall agreement endorsed by council

A new community hall in Alma’s Wallace Cumming Park may be one step closer to reality.
Although a management agreement between Mapleton Township and the Optimist Club of Alma has yet to be re­viewed by a township lawyer, Mayor John Green said last week he expects the agreement will be approved at council’s next meeting on March 25.
The proposed agreement states day-to-day operations of the hall will be handled by the club, through a management com­mit­tee of three town­ship rep­resentatives, two people from Alma, and four from the Optimist Club. The club is also responsible for janitorial services, utilities, routine maintenance, rentals, and ensuring renters adhere to the insurance policy and the township’s alcohol risk management policy.
The township will be re­sponsible for all major repairs, including well and electrical work and plumbing, septic, insulation, furnace, roof, window, and structural repairs.
The agreement states that the township will establish a capital reserve fund with a minimum annual commitment of $10,000 for those maintenance and repairs.
Clerk Patty Sinnamon call­ed the reserve “a good idea,” which will have to be included annually in the township’s budget.
The agreement identifies an initial term of ten years, with a stipulation that after that time the agreement “shall” be re­newed for a further ten years.
But Sinnamon said that wording “leaves no way out of the agreement if the township deems that it is no longer desirable to have the Optimist Club manage and operate the hall.”
Staff prefers the agreement to say “may be   re­newed,” be­cause it is unreasonable “to ob­li­gate a future council” to an indefinite term without re­course to discontinue the agreement, Sinnamon said.
Optimist member Les Skerritt told council the club’s lawyer felt the term “may” is too “wishy washy,” so it was changed to “shall.”
Skerritt explained the section of the agreement that states if a disagreement arises between the township and club and it is not resolved within 30 days, the Ontario Arbitration Act will be applicable.
Green said the township has experienced such a disagreement in the past. “I hope this will be a happy and friendly partnership,” Green said. “I think this new hall in Alma is needed, and it will be a great asset to the community.”
Councillor Jim Curry was absent.