Dunedin, Nottawa to seek public input on hall renos

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Hall board members in Dunedin and Nottawa were presented options for complying with AODA requirements last week.
They are the remainder of Clearview’s six community hall boards to hear options from Clearview staff and council reps who have been making the rounds on Zoom presenting community hall boards options for proceeding with renovations to meet the province’s accessibility requirements.
Both boards said they would need time to discuss the options and their decisions would require community consultation.
Volunteers in Dunedin received the presentation from Clearview’s General Manager of Parks, Culture and Recreation, Terry Vachon on March 30.
Dunedin Hall was presented two options. One option is to renovate to meet the AODA requirements set out in The Building Code at a cost of $520,000, with the board being expected to contribute 25 per cent of the total cost at $130,000. The other option is to purchase the hall for $1 and operate it as an independent board.
Board chair Jennifer Jansen said the board has concerns with some of the renovation plans proposed by the township’s engineers, specifically a two-storey addition to the west, for washrooms, and additional kitchen space. She said they need to get into the details on the design to determine if the proposal would be approved by the NVCA and if it would impact the current septic system.
“I really think we need to hear from the community because if the community is not into supporting the hall – whether it’s with volunteer hours, showing up at events, being on the board, or donating financially – If the community is not prepared to do that then I’m not prepared to bust my butt to raise that kind of coin,” said Jansen.
“You guys, as volunteers, have made a great impact on our community as far as the halls go,” said Mayor Doug Measures. “You are to be commended for that, and we appreciate that, so I really hope you understand we are honestly trying to work this out with you, together, and come up with some answers that will suit all of Clearview.”
Nottawa Memorial Community Centre heard its presentation on March 31, when several options were tabled: Demolish the building and construct a new one at the existing size of 3,400 square feet at a cost of $816,000, with the board expected to contribute $204,000; or demolish the building and construct a new, larger one-storey building at the proposed size of 5,100 square feet the cost is estimated at $1,224,000, with the board expected to contribute $306,000. The idea being that it may be cheaper to operate a new building and there is enough available property to expand.
Another option is to renovate the existing building at an estimated cost of $846,875, with the board’s contribution being $211,719.
Finally, the board was also given the option to buy the property for $1 and become an independent entity.
Hall board members, off the cuff, said maybe it would make more sense to build a new hall but weren’t thrilled about the prospect of raising funds.
“I have a lot of trouble going to the community with hat-in-hand saying, please give us money to fix up this building,” said board chair Jason Whyte. “If the township wants their building fixed, it should be up to the township to find that money.”
Whyte said he didn’t sign up to be a tax collector or a fundraiser, and that community consultation is needed to seek direction from the community.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) calls on corporations with more than 50 employees, including Clearview, to make public spaces accessible by 2016, with the goal of having a fully accessible province by 2025.
In 2019, council asked its engineering consultant RJ Burnside to update earlier hall renovation estimates revealing costs for six of Clearview’s community halls – Avening, Sunnidale Corners, Nottawa, Duntroon, Brentwood and Dunedin – had gone up significantly from $710,000, to $4,150,000. (The Station on the Green in Creemore was omitted from the review because it already meets AODA requirements.) By the end of 2021, the township will have earmarked $1.5 million for hall renovations.
During the presentations, Vachon has said that council is open to borrowing funds and that hall boards would be able to pay back their portion over time. The details would have to be worked out during negotiations.
Now that the presentations are over, staff will be collecting feedback from all the halls before taking a report back to council.

File photo: Dunedin Hall, pictured during a 2018 Dunedin Literary Festival performance.

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