Council approves plan for complex upper hall

WELLINGTON NORTH – Township staff here will begin the procurement process for renovations in the upper leisure hall of the Mount Forest and District Sports Complex, using Municipal and Modernization and Efficiency Funds allocated specifically for the complex last year.

Renovations involve the arena lobby and offices in the upper hall, but staff recommended only the hall work proceed, given concerns related to the lack of available office space for township employees.

“Township staff are recommending the work associated with the west-side front lobby be parked for future consideration,” township operations director Matthew Aston and recreations services manager Tom Bowden wrote in a report to the recreation, parks and leisure committee. 

“With respect to the front lobby works, staff would like additional time to consult with user groups and, at this time, do not feel these upgrades are required. 

“The establishment of additional workspace for township staff is seen as a priority.”

Councillor Sherry Burke asked what the intent of the office space is.

There are two offices planned for the leisure hall, Aston said, potentially for recreation employees – there is currently one working out of the hall.

“This would formalize that space,” Aston said, adding another space would be for another employee in the future. 

The proposed design puts the office space to the right of the hall, which will remain a rentable space.

Chief building officer Darren Jones said there are township positions being hired for, yet the Kenilworth building is tapped for space.

“To me, it doesn’t make sense if we’re going to put somebody from a different department in that building space, it would be easier for the folks that work in one department to collaborate together if they are all in one centre,” Burke said.

“There is some immediate needs coming” for staff space, Aston said. 

“I agree with you that long-term, probably having recreation people in that space makes a lot of sense.” 

Councillor Dan Yake picked up on Burke’s comments and said he wanted to see an assessment done of available municipal office space throughout the entire township. Councillor Steve McCabe seconded Yake’s request. 

A staff recommendation put before council on Sept. 12 to initiate a procurement process for the work was passed with Burke opposed.