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Big Upgrades Announced for Grand Valley Community Centre

Big Upgrades Announced for the Grand Valley Community Centre

The Grand Valley and District Community Centre is getting some big upgrades.

On April 8, 2021, representatives from the federal and provincial governments joined councilmembers from Grand Valley to announce the allotted federal and provincial funding to improve the district’s arena. Representatives from other Ontario municipalities, including the Townships of Amaranth and East Garafraxa, were also in attendance. The event was live-streamed on the Town of Grand Valley’s Facebook Page.

The announcement was that the Grand Valley and District Community Centre would be getting six new change rooms and replacing the Town’s approximately 50-year old ice surface. The ice surface work will include a new floor, dasher boards, concrete work, and refrigeration lines. The six change rooms will replace the existing four, which cannot be upgraded to meet current accessibility standards. Furthermore, it has been a long-standing issue that girls and women using the Community Centre have not had a proper change room. This funding will fix that.

“You could give us money to build a bridge, and it would largely go unnoticed,” said Grand Valley’s Mayor Steve Soloman, “but you give us money to upgrade our arena, that’s the government in action, everybody notices.”

The estimated cost of the project is $2.8 million. Of the total funding, 40% will come from the federal government, 33.33% from the provincial government, and 26.67% from the three municipalities in the Community Centre’s catchment area. This consists of the Town of Grand Valley, the Township of Amaranth, and the Township of East Garafraxa. This project was one of 30 announced for Central Ontario included in the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan.

The draft agreement determining how the Community Centre would be funded between three municipalities was contained in the agenda for the Town of East Garafraxa council meeting held on March 9, 2021. It states that of the 26.67% of the estimated $2.8 million that the municipalities would be contributing, Grand Valley would pay 60%, Amaranth 26%, and East Garafraxa 14%. According to meeting minutes, Amaranth’s council passed a resolution agreeing to their portion on April 6, 2021, and approved the project itself on February 17, 2021. East Garafraxa’s council is still determining whether 14% is the appropriate amount.

East Garafraxa’s Council had expressed concerns over the Community Centre upgrades and communicated them to The Township of Grand Valley in an e-mail that can be found in the agenda for the March 23 council meeting of Grand Valley’s council. Among them was the assertion that the change rooms were not recommended by the board but put forward by the Town of Grand Valley. Another was with the total cost of the project and if it went over what was estimated. When it comes to the percentage that the Township of East Garafraxa would be paying for the Community Centre upgrades, the council questioned whether 14% was the correct amount based on the assessment within the catchment. East Gafaraxa states that it has not realized much growth in that area of the Township, while Grand Valley has increased significantly.

At the East Garafraxa Council Meeting held on March 9, Sue Stone, the Township’s Chief Administrative Officer, acknowledged that while the municipality may not have experienced the population growth that Grand Valley has, the assessment values of properties in East Garafraxa have increased.

“Although we may not have additional units, our assessment definitely shifts,” explained Stone. “We may find out that that percentage is accurate, but we have asked them to verify.”

Dufferin News obtained confirmation that the municipalities are still undergoing negotiations. According to Meghan Townsend, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Grand Valley, the Community Centre upgrades’ start and completion dates have yet to be established.

Correction: Clarified the dates that the Township of Amaranth agreed to the Grand Valley and District Community Centre.

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