Council votes to pursue a $10 million grant for aquatics facility

Adam Prudhomme

Still several steps from being shovel ready on an aquatics facility-or even decided as to whether the project will go ahead or not-Greater Napanee council passed a motion to apply for $10 million in grant funding for a pool.

After a round of discussion council voted to apply for an Aquatics ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure: Community, Culture and Recreation Stream) in partnership with Loyalist Township. Council reasoned that though they are still early in the planning process, a grant opportunity like this, which features a Nov. 12 deadline, is rare. The last such funding opportunity was back in 2008.

“This is jumping ahead in the queue,” Brant Zätterberg, GM of Community and Corporate Services with Greater Napanee told council in regards to the pool project. “But only because these opportunities don’t come up very often.”

Councillor Terry Richardson proposed the town apply for the grant with the understanding if they were successful, they would have seven years to spend the money. In the event they decided maintaining the pool would be too costly, they could cancel the project and return the grant.

“There’s so many unanswered questions still with this project,” said councillor Dave Pinnell Jr. “But it is one heck of an opportunity. We have to make sure we can afford (an aquatics facility). We have some major projects on the go right now. But it’s one heck of an opportunity.”

According to the town’s projections, the total cost to develop a multi-use aquatic/fitness facility, based on a 32,300 square foot concept, would cost $14.6 million to build and operating costs would be $383,500.

-Citing new provincial regulations, Greater Napanee agreed to terminate its existing grant administration agreement with the Community Foundation for Lennox and Addington and enter a new one.

The amended grant policy included that an amount determined annually during budget discussions would be provided to the Loyalist Parkway Association, Deseronto Transit and the United Empire Loyalists for the operation of Allison House, an amount of up to $300 would be given to an individual resident who has been accepted to compete on a national or international scale that council deems to be of significant sport, culture, academic achievement or skill, and that local teams could qualify for up to $500 in funding if they meet those same guidelines, after the event to cover reasonable trip expenses in excess of fundraising revenues.

Shortly after amending their grants policy, council agreed to support the Greater Napanee Fire Fit team $500 to cover expenses for their trip to compete at the 3M Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge in Montgomery Alabama later this month. They also passed a motion to provide $500 towards Connor Brooks, who will represent Canada at the U17 Men’s Softball Qualifier, Nov. 1-10 in Guatemala. Council voted to use a $200 refund from the termination of their previous agreement to add to the $300 they would normally provide for an individual athlete.

-A special meeting will take place in late November for council to discuss the 2020 Taxation Policy report.

Councillor Bob Norrie moved that council hold a special open meeting, though the date is yet to be finalized.

“We’ll have it open so the public can hear what we’re planning with their money,” said Norrie. “I’d like it to be a special meeting because it’s going to be a long one.”

Mayor Marg Isbester agreed.

“This is the year we have to make a decision so that staff can start all the research and costing,” said Isbester. “It’s not going to be an easy job.”

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