The McCulley-Robertson Recreation Park continues to be the location of choice for a newly proposed multi-use recreation centre that would house a six-sheet curling rink, among other things. That was the general sentiment at a public meeting held by the Huntsville Curling Club and chaired by consultants Mark Inglis of York Urbanist and Mike Holt of a+LINK Architecture.
Inglis presented the background of the project collected from stakeholders that included the Town of Huntsville, Huntsville High School, Huntsville Soccer Club, Muskoka Hornets Baseball Association, as well as the curling club. Other information came from interviews with the sports community, land owners and user groups as well as comparable facility reviews.
The cost of the facility is estimated to be $4.5 million and a business plan is being developed. The actual design is just getting started and has identified the need to be on one level to meet the accessibility standards and with high ceilings for multi-sport opportunities.
The Huntsville Soccer Association is looking for a regulation size, indoor field facility and is willing to pay $180 dollars an hour for its use. Their concern is that Bracebridge is considering an indoor facility that could draw soccer players from Huntsville. If that were to happen there would be serious consequences to existing programs and their funding.
The Huntsville Hurricanes basketball organization also said they were in need of reliable gymnasium space and willing to pay for it. They will provide move information about their needs for future consideration. Other stakeholders include Huntsville High School and the Muskoka Hornets Baseball Association.
Some of the 20-plus people at the meeting had questions about the location and about possible uses. Dale Heiydt, a curler and golfer, asked if Huntsville Downs Golf Course had been contacted and if there were advantages or concerns with the association between the two sports.
Inglis said experience with other country clubs was not too encouraging and gave examples of Hawkesbury and Brockville where problems had been encountered. He also said he had met with staff at Deerhurst Resort who had suggested that the former air strip north of Highway 60 was available. However, service and upgrade needs at that site would be high and made it not as cost effective as other sites. The consultants also identified concerns with the Legion site and the Huntsville Agricultural site from drainage to soil issues.
At this time, a six sheet (the playing surface for each game) plan is the preferred option. While more expensive than four rinks, it would make Huntsville competitive for major events and would be more cost efficient to build now rather than expand later. The consultants have identified that 100 members per rink is the optimal number from a financial point of view.
Scott Ovell, the Town’s Community Development Officer, was noncommittal when asked if the Town would build the facility at McCulley-Robertson.
A preliminary business plan, selection of a site, a schematic design, preliminary costs and a further meeting with stakeholders at the end of March will take place in time for the next public meeting tentatively scheduled for April 19.
See a copy of the presentation shared at the public meeting here (PDF).
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