Last two phases of MURC study to proceed

By John Tapley, Ingersoll Times

Town of Ingersoll logo

Town of Ingersoll logo

Ingersoll's multi-use recreation centre (MURC) is moving closer to reality, on paper at least.


Council authorized the MURC ad-hoc committee to proceed with site assessments and conceptual designs and capital costing components for a new facility following a presentation by facility consultant Fred Galloway.


Highlighting key findings from the first two phases of the four phase study, including a needs assessment and partnership plan, Galloway said 411 people were engaged through the consultation process. That included 37 people from six organizations in partner focus groups, 21 participants in a community focus group, 27 residents in a community workshop, 315 responses to community survey and 11 people from four groups in partner interviews.


Of the 315 individuals who responded to the community survey, 90 per cent identified a new multi-use recreation centre as a high or moderate need, with the remaining 10 per cent saying it was not needed or very much not needed.


Eighty-five per cent of survey responses identified a new MURC as a significant or moderate priority, with nearly nine percent saying it is a future priority and less than five per cent saying it isn't a priority.


The report included a possible facilities mix and phasing with a recommendation for the core phase to include a single pad arena with an indoor walking track and seating for 500 to 800 people with 10 dressing rooms. It would be designed to accommodate a second ice pad at a future date.


A double gymnasium and a multi-use space are also listed as potential priorities for the core phase. The recommendation mentions a possible fitness/wellness centre, possible soccer and baseball fields and a 40 foot by 40 foot second ice surface for shooting clinics and public skating.


Besides a second ice pad, future activity and space design considerations for expansion include a possible indoor soccer facility and, in the long term, replacement of the indoor swimming pool at the Victoria Park Community Complex.


Potential activities requiring further assessments and discussions include an expanded fitness and wellness centre with a broader range of and newer equipment and additional exercise and wellness programs and classes. Also on the list of possibilities is a seniors' centre, relocating the curling club and a possible creative arts centre.


The report recommends four potential partnerships be considered. They included a decision on the Township of Zorra's potential participation on a twin pad arena development model, possibly located in the township; a decision and investment frameworks for possible includion of the Ingersoll Curling Club and the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre; when appropriate approach the Township of South West Oxford for a proportion capital funding contribution; pursue discussions with the YMCA and/or other service providers on a possible expanded fitness/wellness centre.


Capital funding requirements would be a minimum of $13.3 million from federal and provincial infrastructure grants and a community capital campaign.


The town has a funding model of approximately one-third of the cost for the new facility being covered by the federal government, one-third by the provincial government and one-third from a community capital campaign and the town.


Based on the community survey, over 70 per cent of respondents indicated they would contribute to a community capital campaign.


The Rotary Club of Ingersoll has already stepped up with a $100,000 commitment to a new facility.


Through ice fee reserves, the town could have $2.23 million available by 2021 along with $338,000 for land acquisition from development charges, $37,000 for outside development through park facility reserves and $5.125 million in potential municipal debentures.


When it comes to locations for a new facility, land on Clark Road is being retained with the addition of the General Motors lands where the soccer fields and Seniors' Activity Centre are currently.


It was also recommended that Victoria park be removed as a potential site.


“I think it's premature to remove that site,” said Deputy Mayor Fred Freeman during discussion on the report. “I don't think we should rule out any site.”


Jim Sheffield of Nicholson Sheffield Architects Inc., which will be working on the conceptual drawings for the facility, said it would be difficult to fit the facility in Victoria Park, “with all the parking and things that go along with it.”


Coun. Brian Petrie said he thinks Victoria Park could be a potential site, but “I've heard enough from the community that they don't want it there.”


“I just don't think it's accepted by the community.”


After some more back and forth about removing Victoria Park from consideration, Freeman said he was convinced to “move on.”


“I will vote in favour of this resolution (to remove Victoria Park).”


The full text of the lengthy report is available through a link on the June 12 council agenda on the town's web site at: