Life Expectancy of Recreation Facilities

The Consultation Process Continues, with Questions …

As the Town of Collingwood’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Masterplan Consultation process continues, two members of council have publicly expressed concern as to what the life expectancy of the two Sprung buildings will be.

Of course, knowing the life expectancy of all of the facilities, including the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena and the outdoor rink at Central Park, is critical in putting together a long-term plan to deliver parks, recreation and culture services to the people of Collingwood in the future.

Looking back: Mayor Sandra Cooper and Dr. Don Paul were two of the speakers at the grand opening of the Collingwood Centennial Aquatic Centre, giving Collingwood residents an indoor, year-round pool facility.
Dr. Don Paul - Pool Opening

Early in 2013, the Town of Collingwood published a brochure to highlight the construction components and life expectancy of the buildings planned for Central Park and Centennial Pool.

The buildings are considered 60 year structures, with a 20-year guarantee on the membrane and 30-year guarantee on the structure itself. Many standard roof types have less than a 20-year guarantee. The membrane is easily replaced at a similar cost to re-roofing a commercial building. Sprung uses aluminum‘I’beams which never rust, require no welding spots, and will never corrode. Channels for Sprung’s architectural membrane are built into the beams.

Both structures in Collingwood will be built with Sprung’stechnology, developed in 2003. and are a lifetime 60+ year building.

This information was very encouraging and was presented as a cost effective way to build much needed recreation facilities in the town.

The facilities are busy and have obviously met a need for growing swimming and hockey needs in the community. Services are being delivered.

Game on! Central Park Arena hosts hockey for all ages
opening ribbon cutting Centennial Aquatic Centre Collingwood
Mayor Sandra Cooper and Acting Town of Collingwood CAO Ed Houghton cut the ribbon to officially open the Centennial Aquatic Centre

However, the proposed life-expectancy of the two Sprung structures was called into question as a part of the PRC Masterplan Consultation process involving council on Monday January 15th.

Councillor Kathy Jeffery focused on the pressure put on town finances to run multiple facilities at separate locations.

“There are ongoing things such as the draining of financial resources, in terms of even some of the newer facilities such as the bubble facilities and maybe a shorter than anticipated life expectancy for those and how we plan going forward in terms of their replacement, and I think that this is probably monumental.“

Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson also addressed concerns he has surrounding future operating costs of running stand-alone facilities throughout the town and he too questioned the life expectancy of Central Park Arena and Centennial Aquatic Centre. He said his number one focus is on the need for strategic planning to chart a course and identify what needs to happen.

“We have aging plants and facilities here, with the Eddie Bush. There are realistic life spans for those sorts of buildings so we have to take that into account. As Councillor Jeffery noted with the Sprung buildings, there seems to be life timeframe issues that are going to have to be dealt with and if we are looking out ten to fifteen years then that’s going to be a road we’ll have to cross again.”

So the question is an obvious one.

What are the lifespan expectations of the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena, Central Park Arena, Outdoor Rink at Central Park and Centennial Aquatic Centre.

Then (above) and Now (below)
Downtown Collingwood Arena, built in 1949, is an example of how a recreation facility can live well past what many thought would be its life expectancy. It was well planned (ice surface was larger than the surface in Maple Leaf Gardens), and built exceptionally well with an eye to the future needs of generations of Collingwood citizens.

The downtown arena, opened in 1949, has seen many recent upgrades, and still functions well as one of the grand heritage arenas in the province

The Eddie Bush Memorial Arena in downtown Collingwood continues to perform 69 years after it first played host to a hockey game. That is a good news story. It has certainly out performed other arenas built in the 1950’s in communities around the region (most of which have now disappeared) and is well equipped to keep functioning well into the future.

While many communities across Canada have discovered that building an arena in a downtown district is a key to revitalizing a community’s core, Collingwood already has a highly functioning facility that puts feet on the downtown streets twelve months of the year. All you have to do is look at the development around the new arenas in downtown Guelph and London to see how an arena in Canada can trigger economic growth in a downtown district.

Mayor Sandra Cooper recognizes the value of having an arena in the heart of our downtown. She said Collingwood is the envy of many communities for having a facility of the calibre of the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena as a focal point of the downtown heritage district.

Before the sun comes up in the morning and after it goes down in the evening, the downtown arena generates activity on the downtown streets. The Eddie Bush Arena’s longevity is the result of good planning, terrific workmanship and an outstanding vision to the future by the people responsible for its construction.

While public input gives top marks to parks, trails, arts and culture, our recreation facilities have not scored as well.

At the January 15th PRC Masterplan Consultation with council, Deputy Mayor Saunderson said he’d like to see Collingwood’s facilities brought up to the high standard of excellence delivered by our parks and trails.

“A gap for me is that our facilities don’t live up to what we have in terms of our external attributes in terms of parkland and trails and it would be nice to see the community close that gap.”

In time, the detailed PRC Masterplan Consultation process will generate answers to pressing questions. Those answers will in turn guide town staff and council through the process of planning for future recreation facilities for the long term benefits of the residents of Collingwood.

You can still have your say.

The PRC Framework survey is available online or at all PRC facilities until February 28, and the next public open house will be held in April. The public was also reminded that everyone who completes the survey will be entered for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate.

Looking Back – Video of Grand Opening of Centennial Aquatic Centre

CLICK HERE to view the pamphlet distributed by the Town of Collingwood in 2013 to educate the community on better understanding the background and advertised advantages of Sprung structures.

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