Huntsville’s designated pickleball courts will be bigger than expected. They will also be moved to a new location at the McCulley-Robertson Recreation Park and come at a higher price tag.
At its regular council meeting on Monday, November 22, Huntsville council was asked to approve about $150,000 more than the original $200,000 budgeted for the four pickleball courts.
According to a report provided to council by Huntsville manager of parks and cemeteries Colleen MacDonald, following input from other user groups and a consultant it was determined that a better location for the courts would be between the south soccer fields and the skateboard park.
She told council the Town received only one bid to its request for proposal (RFP) which closed at the beginning of October: $311,773.10 plus tax for the enhanced courts, submitted by Arenes Construction Ltd.
“The RFP asked for pricing on two different sizes of overall layout – a standard size and an enhanced size. The larger size layout (enhanced) adds more play out room at side court as well as at the rear of each court. The pre-tax pricing for each option is $297,917.00 and $311,773.10 [for the enhanced courts]respectively,” she noted in her report to council, adding, “As discussed with the local pickleball users the preferred size of court would be the enhanced sized.”
The new location recommended for the courts will require tree-clearing and stump removal which is partly to blame for the added cost. MacDonald also emphasized that the Town had only received one bid. “My suspicion is that many contractors are busy and they know their schedules for spring are already planned. It may just be a matter of availability of contractors scheduling-wise that they’re all busy so having only one bid, it is our only option if we choose to go ahead,” she told council.
Councillor Bob Stone said while he agrees with building the courts, “the cost has now ballooned over 50 per cent. There is no mention in the report about the money we have to put aside to replace this in the future in our asset management plan. I’m really concerned with the number right now and I don’t know if this is the year for us to do it.”
If approved, the funds would be pulled from the parkland (cash-in-lieu) reserve, which according to MacDonald had a balance of $487,437.
Councillor Jonathan Wiebe also brought up the 55+ Games legacy fund. “I know that was supposed to be dedicated towards senior programming activities and I know pickleball has kind of come on as a big one, especially with the Games…,” noted Wiebe.
Staff confirmed that funds could also be pulled from the 55+ legacy fund.
In the end, council unanimously approved the expenditure with funds also being pulled from the 2019 Ontario 55+ Winter Games legacy fund in the amount of $41,567.37 and the remainder from the parkland in lieu of cash reserve.
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