Mulmur council seeks public support for arena upgrades

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Editor’s note: A correction is needed to clarify the March 15 article “Mulmur council seeks public support for arena upgrades.” A three per cent tax increase would only be needed if the remaining balance in the tax rate stabilization reserve was used to fund arena repairs. With the funds being taken from a number of other reserves that can be replenished through the regular contribution schedule, no tax increase is required. The Echo apologizes for the error.

Mulmur council is surveying residents to ask if they support repairs in the amount of $1.5 million to keep the doors open at North Dufferin Community Centre (NDCC).

On March 6, councillors voted against amending the 2024 capital budget to include the costs of critical infrastructure replacement and repairs of the ice surface at the Honeywood arena to be funded through reserves. They voted instead to ask for the community’s input on the expenditure and gauge possible financial contributions from other municipalities and users.

In a letter to residents, Mulmur Mayor Janet Horner wrote, “The North Dufferin Community Centre (Honeywood Arena) has played a pivotal role as a central hub for recreation, community events, celebrations, gatherings, and social interactions since 1912. Serving all demographics, young and old, the preservation and continued operations of the arena will not only safeguard the communities’ cultural heritage but also enhance the overall wellbeing and pride of the community and beyond.”

“Mulmur has examined its reserve accounts and are able to fund the majority of the project but we need the support of the community to complete the ice surface repair and future repairs and improvements,” wrote Horner.

A leak in the refrigeration piping originally installed in 1964 has deteriorated and poses a significant risk to the ongoing operations of the arena. Immediate replacement is necessary to ensure the arena remains operational.

“While the issue of upgrades to the NDCC is a long-standing issue, it has been one that has been put off by previous councils (including my own) until the time came that it was an emergency,” Horner told The Echo. “We have been applying for grants for an upgrade or redo to the facility for the past two years but have not been successful in securing grant money. With the failure of the piping in the floor of the arena in December, we are now at a critical time that we need to make a decision!”

The arena was community operated for many years before being operated by a joint board with Melancthon Township.

“In 2023, Melancthon gave notice that starting in 2024, they would no longer pay for half of the expenses (even though they have more users than Mulmur has) and would consider contributions to some specific capital improvements,” said Horner.

Replacement of the piping, concrete and boards will be required before the ice can be installed for the upcoming season and the job needs to go to tender in the near future.

“We’ve known about this facility for a while. This is not new to us,” said Councillor Andrew Cunningham, who supported the budget amendment. “Making that commitment as a council is a start for us to go to the community to see about community buy-in with partners.”

Township staff has determined that the repairs can be funded from reserves, with approval from council.

One option before council is to end investment in the facility and close the arena saving about $200,000 per year, but the arena still has a 50-year life span.

An additional $70,000 is required to repair the roof above the Norduff Room, which continues to leak despite previous attempts to repair it, and needs to be replaced to prevent further damage. A further $5 million in capital costs have been identified to make non-urgent upgrades and improvements to the facility.

“We value your opinion and are seeking your input as to whether you support the long-term investment in the arena,” said Horner in her letter.

There is a hope the community will rally and spearhead fundraising efforts for the long-term viability of the arena.

“I don’t think we need to hire a consultant,” said Councillor Earl Hawkins. “There are enough well-to-do good people in Mulmur that work in that field.”

Mulmur residents are asked to complete the survey by March 29 in order to help council make a decision at its April 3 meeting. The survey is available at


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