Whitewater Area – Recent blackouts at the Westmeath and Beachburg arenas have prompted a councilor to question the future of recreation in the township.
Recreation Director Jordan Durocher informed council at a recent meeting that the grant money set aside for the septic system at Beachburg Arena is intended for other repairs there as well as Westmeath , if the board agrees.
Before going into specifics, he reminded the board that last year it only operated the Cobden Arena and this year the board wanted all three up and running. Cobden’s Astrolabe Arena now has ice, while Beachburg and Westmeath are over a month away from having ice.
“There were infrastructure issues,” said Durocher.
In Beachburg, a brine leak was discovered, which is a critical part of making ice, he said.
“The issue was resolved to ensure it would be ready for our users for rentals this fall,” he advised. “Unfortunately, right after that we had a water main break somewhere in the first and second week of August. We were able to restore the water in the front, but not in the back.
Galvanized pipe is used to bring water into the facility and when it was dug up Mr Duroucher said it looked like a sprinkler system. While the water was restored to the front of the arena, there was no water at the rear, and it was discovered that the main pipe was splitting and supplying water to the rear, and that the galvanized piping was failing outside the building. A pipe was installed from the front to the back of the building, so that ice could be made, he added.
In Westmeath, one of the two wells failed. Mr Durocher said MacKinnon Well Drilling tested the well and there was not enough pressure or volume of water.
“We will probably have to drill a new well,” he said.
However, after further testing it is possible to hook up one of the secondary wells, he said.
“We need to do a test to make sure there is enough pressure and gallons per minute to maintain the geothermal heat and air conditioning and the facade of our building,” said Durocher. “We will know in about a week if we can mine. Otherwise, the drilling will have to take place.”
These issues mean Beachburg Arena is not expected to open until early October while Westmeath Arena could be postponed until the end of October, he said.
Councilor Neil Nicholson pointed out that November is one of the highest demands for new users due to the Silver Stick Hockey Tournament in Pembroke.
“This is where we make the most money, when the Silver Stick is activated, because it pushes Pembroke users to our rink,” he said. “I encourage you to have at least a second rink ready for use on November 1st so that we can take advantage of any potential income.”
Mayor Mike Moore asked about hockey in Renfrew County and specifically the Whitewater Kings.
Mr Durocher said it will be known soon because the government is issuing more guidelines relating to the sport.
While these infrastructure problems can be solved by using reserves and diverting federal and provincial government grants for the septic tank problem in Beachburg, it does mean that the septic tank problem will not be solved this year, a- he declared.
Following a motion to make repairs to the two arenas in the amount of $ 35,000 presented by Reeve Cathy Regier, and seconded by Councilor Dave Mackay, Coun. Nicholson asked if investments in these buildings were tracked by the asset management plan.
“I want to make sure that when we invest money in these buildings, it’s based on their intended lifecycle,” he said. “We have to know how much money we are investing in something and how long we want it to last.
“We want to make sure we’re making the right investments on behalf of our taxpayers. “
Director General Robert Tremblay said that even though the buildings are not in the first deadline of the asset management plan program, staff are trying to include them.
“We can hone our knowledge and understanding of operations and the lifecycle and improve as we go,” he said.
Com. Nicholson also asked how the septic system would be funded, since the grant money now goes to other projects, and if it can be put on hold.
Mr. Tremblay said there is an ownership issue with the septic system, explaining that the arena’s septic system is not just on its own property, but the property of the Beachburg Agricultural Company and the property of the arena. ‘a private neighbor.
“We have to fix this problem and we can’t get a permit for something we don’t own,” he said. “We think it will be fine, but this is an item that is urgently needed, but it should be fine for this year as we sort out the legal aspects of this.”
On the future of recreation in the Whitewater area, Councilor Chris Olmstead said he has been at the council table for seven years and it still seems like one step forward and two steps back with the facilities.
“We did everything we could,” he said.
The township took responsibility for the three arenas in 2017, he said, and it’s time to start investing in recreation, whether it’s building up reserves or some sort of plan.
“We all agree that recreation is a top priority for our township,” said Coun. said Olmstead. “We have plans ahead, the asset management plan, as Councilor Nicholson said. Are these things nearing their useful life? We have just replaced the ramp at Westmeath. It seems like we are missing out on what we need to do for these facilities all the time.
“I would really like to watch this. I imagine we have no reservations in recreation. We really need to start moving forward.
Com. Olmstead said the township “is developing by leaps and bounds”. He noted that two months ago, when he left his street in Cobden, there were only two children, and now there are eight; While in Beachburg recently, he noted “there are lots of kids 10 and under. I just couldn’t believe it was Beachburg
“We really need to start getting ahead of recreation,” he said.
Council approved the new spending for the Westmeath and Beachburg arenas.
Connie Tabbert, reporter with the Local Journalism Initiative, The Eganville Leader