WBRA wholeheartedly supports the need for new arena and library facilities for our Town. However, given that the world is experiencing unprecedented times, does it make sense to continue with a project that has grown in cost projections and been denied government funding? The Town's financial reports show cost overruns due to unexpected COVID-19 expenses and unexpected high waters. The Treasurer's report concludes "Overall, the Town's (sic) is managing fairly well from the impact of COVID-19, with specific areas more heavily impacted than others are. Based on the revenues realized to date, it is likely that a significant loss of revenues will occur by the end of the year, possibly in the 25% to 50% range".
Press Release: Wasaga Beach Disappointed
Community Hub 2018: COMMUNITY HUB PUBLIC NEEDS ASSESSMENT PRESENTATION
Questions you may wish to consider:
- The world has changed. People's priorities and basic needs have changed. Governments around the world are making changes to their pre-pandemic plans. Why isn't the Town of Wasaga Beach taking time to re-evaluate the scope of this project? Should the Town consider a referendum to gauge whether this project is still a priority for taxpayers?
- Once, we had a good plan that would have a created a vibrant hub for the Town, encouraging development of all kinds of accommodation options. How can we expect to draw major hockey tournaments with virtually no places for teams to stay?
- The cost of this project was first stated as $36.7 million. It currently sits at $59.9 million. How can a budget figure be off by more than 50% before there is even a shovel in the ground?
- Precisely what are we getting for this huge spend and what impact will this have on our Reserves accumulated over many years?
- Has the Town created a model which outlines the yearly operating costs for the new facility? Since the new arena will be double the size, will it’s operating fees also be double?
- According to a Press Release issued on August 10, The Town of Wasaga Beach was refused funding assistance of $38.7M of the $59.9M project. A grant application by Collingwood was also denied which resulted in staff scaling back plans for a multi-use facility at Fisher Field. Should the Town of Wasaga Beach similarly reconsider plans due to denied grants?
- Since Council was unsuccessful in obtaining Provincial grants to offset overall costs of this project, what do you now see the yearly tax percentage increases for homeowners being in 2021 and 2022 resulting from this situation?
- In a January 2019 Press Release, it was stated that "...the new council passed a motion to pause the community hub process" for Beck & Main Streets. It also stated that "...public sector components hub would be in the range of $45-million, inclusive of land." The decision to consider other options was made because provincial or federal dollars had not been committed towards the community hub and, in the words of Mayor Bifolchi, "We have a responsibility to do our due diligence on this file." Since this project is even more expensive than the Community Hub location are the Mayor and Council willing to revisit the size, scope and significant cost of this project since there is no Provincial funding available at this time?
- According to Wasaga Beach CAO George Vadeboncoeur, the Town has approximately 12,000 households that pay taxes. If we are to believe the $60 million price tag for the new arena and library, that is an average of $5,000 per household, no matter the amortization period and before interest rates. Do you believe this is a good spend of your tax dollars?