Council approves funding for pavilion, new washrooms at Rockmosa Park

GUELPH/ERAMOSA – Council here has approved a $1-million pavilion project that will include new public washrooms and other items at Rockmosa Park in Rockwood.

But the township will only be responsible for 25 per cent of the cost should it be completed by the end of the year.

Last July the federal government announced the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) to help communities across Canada build and improve community infrastructure projects to offset the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a report to council explained.

Funding up to 75% was provided for this intake, to a maximum of $1 million.

The parks and recreation department submitted a funding application for the removal and replacement of the public washroom facility at Rockmosa Park.

“The project eligibility was specific in the sense that it was revitalization of downtown cores, reinvent outdoor spaces, create green infrastructure, or increase the accessibility of community spaces,” director of parks and recreation Robin Milne told council on May 16.

“The grant that we moved forward with was to increase the accessibility of community spaces, but also reinventing outdoor spaces.

“We moved forward with an application for a new fully accessible, gender-neutral public bathroom at Rockmosa Park with an adjoining pavilion area.”

Milne noted the existing building does not meet current accessibility guidelines and is showing its age with cracking in the structural block of the building walls, which has created ongoing maintenance and safety concerns.

The new building, the report noted, is proposed to be a year-round, fully accessible, insulated and climate-controlled facility.

“What we’re looking to replace is essentially four bathrooms, a programming space, a mechanical room for the splash pad, an adjoining maintenance area and then 3,000 square feet of open-air pavilion,” Milne said.

The pavilion, he explained, would be used for day camp programming, the farmers’ market, community events like Party in the Park and additional overflow for the splash pad.

Seventy-five per cent ($750,000) of the project will be funded by the CCRF with the remaining 25% ($250,000) covered by the township.

The municipality’s portion will be funded from the township’s municipal reserves with $125,000 to be sourced from the rate stabilization fund and $125,000 from the Rockwood hydro fund.

Funding will cover the cost of detailed design, demolition of the existing building and new construction.

Councillor Corey Woods said he is glad to see the project moving ahead but he is concerned about the tight deadline provided for completion.

“This [grants] for fiscal 2022 which means we have to be fully built by the end of December, which means it’s going to cut into the splash pad,” Woods said.

Milne said the township will have signage up to indicate the closure, which will include a visual rendering of the facility being constructed.

The township will also provide notice of the service interruption on its website and social media ahead of time, he added.

Milne noted demolition is slated for Aug. 2 following the long weekend, with construction of the pavilion to begin Aug. 8.

With the project required to be completed by Dec. 31, Milne said that will give staff about a 20-week construction window.

“In a non-COVID year … for what this project is, that would be completely achievable,” Milne said.

“We’re a little bit nervous what that’s going to look like, but we’re going to make the best effort we can to get it done and make sure that we have a contractor that can commit to those timelines.”

Right now, Milne said staff are still in the detailed design phase and are looking to send the project out for tender in early June, with a two-week tender process, with hopes of awarding the contract at the end of June at the latest.

Council received the report and approved the project, committing to the municipality’s 25% portion of the cost.

Mayor Chris White expressed his thanks to Milne and staff for their work on the application and getting the grant approved.

“As Corey’s pointed out, these facilities are in really rough shape,” White said.

“We get a good new facility here that we need at a good dollar considering the grant.

“I know the community will appreciate those facilities when they’re up.”