Construction of a new regional civic centre could begin as early as next spring
TRURO - Construction of a new regional civic centre could get underway as early as next spring if all goes as planned.
That was the hopeful prospect that arose Friday morning following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Town of Truro and the County of Colchester.
"It marks a great day for Truro and Colchester and I certainly think as a result, the momentum will continue to grow," said an excited Truro Mayor Bill Mills, just before signing the agreement with Colchester Mayor Mike Smith.
"I can hardly wait to see how this thing is going to pan out. And again this is a great opportunity for the whole region. And I guess that's what it's all about, is the whole region," said Mills.
Although many of the details have yet to be decided, one thing that has been agreed upon, the cost of the total project, is expected to run up to $33 million. This package includes funding to upgrade the Colchester Legion Stadium.
This progress comes after strong encouragement from the province helped both municipalities come to the table willing to compromise and marks a shift from the tone of previous negotiations.
Disagreements over issues such as what to do with the existing legion stadium, funding, location and governance have plagued the negotiatio
ns in the past.
"All those things have been hammered out," Mills said. "They've gone before both councils and have been agreed to. You can't really argue too much with that. Most of the other things are non-issues now," explained Mills.
Smith also expressed his excitement over the agreement. But there are still many issues that need to be discussed, he warned.
"If I was a citizen out there and I listen to the radio or I read the newspaper tomorrow, I would say, 'Oh good for them they've signed a piece of paper.' But let's wait and see 'til it's built,' said Smith.
"I think the challenge for us is making sure we don't lose any momentum whatsoever and we don't stop until this is built."
While citizens are waiting for the new facility, more money is going to be pumped into extending the life of the Colchester Legion Stadium.
Out of the total project cost it is going to cost $2.4 million to upgrade the legion stadium. The main focus will be on repairing the deteriorating concrete surface.
A timeline for those repairs is not yet available, said Mills.
"The report that has been done had four different scenarios. The $2.4 million would be just to do the work that has to be done to stay at the status quo. So that's the one that will be done. That should keep it in good operation for the next 10 to 15 years."
Mills also noted that the plan for the new centre will include space for a second rink to be added should the need arise at a later date.
The total construction funding for the project will come from three main sources including the municipalities (60 per cent from Colchester, 40 per cent from Truro), the province which has tentatively pledged $10 million, and other sources including the federal government and public fundraising.
Operational funding will be shared equally by both the town and county when the facility is finished.
Part of the budget could also go towards acquiring a parcel of land adjacent to the car-pool parking lot near Exit 13. This is the preferred location for the new facility by the town and county, but its availability has yet to be determined from the province.
A timeline isn't available yet as to when the land would be purchased if it available, said Smith.