JUNE 2003



In the 1970ís the Ministry of Recreation was established to encourage and assist Municipalities to provide recreation facilities and programs in their communities. Funding was available through The Communities Centres Act, and those were the days of "Wintario" which put a lot of money into Ontario communities for recreation facilities. Also the Municipal Act and the Planning Act stipulated that all monies from the sale of road allowances had to be used for recreation purposes.

The Township Recreation Committee felt that the community needed a Community Centre and made a recommendation to Council that one be considered. Council was generally in agreement but needed to find out the residentsí thoughts, so a student was hired for the summer to do a survey of the residents to see what level of interest there would be for such a project. While not everyone saw a need for this, the majority did, so Council decided to proceed with plans for a Community Centre.

Consultation with the Ministry of Recreation was entered into and the Municipality was encouraged to proceed. The first requirement was a hydrogeological study to determine the location of such a building because of the flood plain of the Irondale River. The only location that the Ministry would support is where the building now stands which is approximately where the Agricultural Building that was destroyed by the 1947 Tornado was. Next step was to determine approximate cost and to show the Ministry that the Municipality could raise its share. To do this Council, through the proper tendering process had to choose a Consultant. The Greer Galloway Group from Peterborough was chosen and Ministry approval was given.

The funding formula was: 25% through the Community Centres Act; 50% of the balance through Wintario, e.g. for each $100,000 of a project the CCA would provide $25,000, Wintario would provide $37,500 and the Municipality was responsible for the remaining $37,500. The Ministry would only approve certain criteria for funding Ė if the Municipality wanted things outside that criteria, it would have to fund it 100%. The Municipality had substantial reserves from the sale of Road Allowances.

The solar heating concept was getting a lot of attention in the 1970ís so it was one of the Ministryís criteria that a passive solar heating system be incorporated even though such a system had not been proven to be workable in this area. This also meant extra costs for the design of the proposed building and it accounts for the unconventional exterior design.

Councilís criteria was quite simple: a building of suitable size with a room that could be used for dances (floor consideration) and for sports (height consideration) a kitchen and dining room, built at a cost that was affordable.

Greer Galloway completed the first draft of the blueprints and the Ministry approved the concept. Applications for funding were made through the Community Centres Act and Wintario and were approved. Then Ministry criteria for funding changed and the Municipality was told that it had to do a Feasibility Study! Again a Consultant had to be chosen, subject to Ministry approval and that work was begun. The Consultant did not finish the Study at the appropriate time, so Wintario said, " you didnít start your project when you should have so the funding is cancelled"!!!!

The community was not prepared to accept that decision! John Eakins, our MPP was consulted and he advised that a brief be prepared and submitted to Wintario followed with by a delegation to meet with key Wintario personnel. Council followed this advice and with Mr. Eakinís assistance Members of Council, staff and the community met with Wintario personnel in Toronto. Councilís presentation impressed the Wintario people and shortly thereafter word was received that the funding had been reinstated.

The Feasibility Study was finished and final drawings were completed and approved by the Ministry. The necessary Tendering process took place and John Beachli from Haliburton was the only bidder who was able to satisfy the bid bond requirements.

After a prolonged struggle the official sod turning took place on February 14, 1981 with Reeve, Ken Maguire doing the honours.