May 2nd, 2019
To: all residents and stakeholders
Re: Mariners Centre Expansion
As residents of Yarmouth County, we are fortunate to have great outdoor spaces and recreational facilities. We have access to spaces that allow us to gather and enjoy a variety of sports and leisure activities. Our region took a leap forward in 2001 when Mariners Centre opened its doors. It gave us a two-surface ice arena and multi-purpose possibilities allowing us to host trade shows, concerts, Relay for Life, Hospital Hullaballoo, graduations, Remembrance Day ceremonies, and more. In recent years other indoor recreation needs have been expressed, and the three Councils have come together to take our community another step further. The focal point of discussion has been around an expansion at Mariners Centre.
A consultant’s report completed in 2017 provided a solid foundation as it outlined various needs and made suggestions for new spaces. While this report was not the final word, it did provide some valuable background information that would allow us to move forward when the time was right.
As you may have heard, NOW may be that time! A wonderful opportunity has made itself available: a new federal/provincial infrastructure program with a specific category for recreation projects. This opportunity might allow the dream of an expansion to become a reality.
We need to act fast. The timeline for submitting a funding application is tight. To make this happen, we formed a steering committee of nine members representing our three municipalities. Since forming, our focus has been to build a solid application, as quickly as possible. Through our meetings, the committee came to a consensus on what this next phase of expansion could include. We have also outlined some key goals as we move toward an application.
So in consideration of all the information available to us, we have determined that the funding application will outline an expansion that supports the following key needs:
1) The application will seek funding for recreation opportunities we do not have today.
2) Any planned expansion should support multi-use possibilities. The goal is to support a wide variety of uses, and the largest number of users for every dollar invested.
3) We will focus on an expansion that maximizes social and economic growth, increases our population, and attracts professionals (e.g. medical professionals) and their families to the region.
4) This phase of expansion at Mariners Centre must address the needs of our ageing population, help promote active lifestyles, and promote overall personal wellness.
5) Any expansion must consider ongoing operating costs, and be responsible to future taxpayers in both the capital and operating stages.
As a group, we all agreed that adding an aquatics centre, an indoor/outdoor track, and a multi-purpose field house would help address these needs.
Many people have asked, “What is a field house?” There is no single definition, but our vision is an indoor facility that has a modern sports turf field. The sort of facility that is suitable for soccer, rugby, golf, Frisbee, and much more. It would have an indoor track for running and walking, as well as other ancillary facilities and equipment.
If our application is successful, detailed designs and configurations will be discussed as part of a typical project development process. First, we need to take a shot at the opportunity for funding! Until it becomes clear the money is available, any work we put our hearts and minds into is for a dream that may not become a reality.
We have also received questions about the management of any new facilities. We have not determined the governance and operation of an expanded Mariners Centre at this time. That also comes later. As a group, we have agreed that the YMCA could serve as an operator of an aquatics centre, and we are open to discussion on that matter. If we are successful in getting funding, much community engagement will happen. Our steering committee will grow and we will determine the best way to operate these new spaces.
As representatives of our communities, we will share our vision, explain our decisions, and keep all of our stakeholders updated on our activities. This letter is a first step toward accomplishing these goals. Our job right now is to build an application. We are working the clock, plain and simple. So stay tuned. This group will work hard to make a strong case for funds to create exciting new spaces for all of us to enjoy!
Mariners Centre Expansion Steering Committee
Municipality of Yarmouth Warden Leland Anthony (Committee Chair)
Deputy Warden John Cunningham CAO Victoria Brooks
Town of Yarmouth
Mayor Pam Mood
Deputy Mayor Phil Mooney CAO Jeff Gushue
Municipality of Argyle Warden Richard Donaldson Deputy Warden Danny Muise (Committee Vice-Chair)
CAO Alain Muise