BARRY’S BAY – Madawaska Valley Township met for their regularly scheduled meeting on March 18.
The Combermere and Area Community Centre is not receiving the attention it deserves and requires a substantial amount of repairs, one local resident told council at the meeting.
Local woman, Margaret Maika told council she represents the ratepayers – and they’re not happy with how the community centre is being neglected.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the centre ignored…” Maika said.
The former Radcliffe Township has a long and proud history of fundraising, the community has invested a lot into building, and maintaining the facilities at the centre – to see how things have turned out now, it’s so sad, Maika said.
Currently, the centre is in need of repairs for both the outdoor rink and the ball field, she added.
In the 2012 budget, the Madawaska Valley allotted about $1,000 to help with fixing up the ball field and repairing the bleachers, for instance, Maika said. These repairs have yet to be completed, she pointed out.
Why? The reason cited was lack of staff availability, which seems to be a repeated theme, she told council.
What’s more, rink improvements are necessary. About $3,500 was set aside to help service these needs, Maika said.
“They’re easy fixes too,” Maika added.
Again, the reason cited as to the improvements not complete were lack of staff availability.
Community members use the rink regularly for activities, like, hockey and general skating, she said. The bleachers will see their fair share of use this summer too, yet they need repairs now, she added.
“It’s inspiring to see the people of this community, both old and young, use and share this facility with kindness and respect – they deserve it to be operating at its best,” Maika said.
She went on to say that the community centre building also needs repairs. A new furnace and backdoor are needed too. The installation of an elevator and work to the washrooms are also concerns of community members.
About $8,000 in the 2012 budget was allotted for a new furnace and backdoor, Maika said. Yet, again, a lack of staff availability has put a halt to any progress.
But even more disturbing, the concerned citizen said, is that in order to comply with the Emergency Preparedness Act, nearly $69, 200 was budgeted to make the centre accessible and to repair or replace the generator.
On two separate occasions, the centre has been used as an emergency centre. Once, the centre was used in the event of an ice storm and another time because of a tornado.
It’s not as if an emergency isn’t likely to happen again either, Maika said; it’s only a matter of time.
Therefore, this building should be in its best shape, for everyone’s safety, she elaborated, and should be considered invaluable for residents.
In addition, Maika expressed concerns that the monies set aside are currently in a generalized reserve. What’s more, other centres have their own reserves, which contain their funds isolated.
She indicated she and other residents want their money to be put into their very own reserve.
Councillor Sylvie Yantha reassured Maika that monies designated for the centre – are just that, designated, he said.
Story continues in the March 20, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.