Preparations are underway to prepare an application for major government funding towards an expansion of the Mariners Centre.
A request for decision on the scope and formation of a multi-municipal committee dedicated to the project has been approved by the Town of Yarmouth and Municipality of Argyle. The Municipality of Yarmouth approved a motion at its March 13 committee of the whole meeting to direct the item to its next regular council meeting.
The Municipality of Argyle discussed the Mariners Centre expansion at their regular council meeting of March 12, where council declared its support for having the nine-member group that includes the mayor of Yarmouth, the wardens of the municipalities of Yarmouth and Argyle, their deputies and the three municipal CAOs serve as the project steering committee.
At the same council session, Argyle council passed another motion in support of having phase one of the expansion include an aquatic centre and indoor/outdoor track and fieldhouse, although Argyle councillors said they wanted clarification regarding the location of the fieldhouse.
Argyle Warden Richard Donaldson acknowledged the Mariners Centre project is in the “very early stages” but said “it’s going to be exciting to see where it goes.”
The addition of a fieldhouse was a stumbling point for the Municipality of Yarmouth as well.
Coun. Loren Cushing says while he supports the expansion, when the original sports complex was built, there were shortcuts taken that “didn’t live up to what the centre should be like.
“I’m nervous about going down the same route again and not getting what we actually need. I don’t know where this fieldhouse recommendation came from.”
Coun. Trevor Cunningham brought up the Bridgewater fieldhouse (HB Studios Sports Centre).
“I understand that it’s not making money, but none of these do make money … we know that going into it. All in all, with what I’m hearing, I think that the recommendation is sage advice at this point. We need to move this project ahead and potentially look at other opportunities down the road.”
CAO Victoria Brooks is a member of the Group of Nine. She pointed out the needs assessment was completed several years ago … and needs change.
“What the Group of Nine is endeavouring to do is confirm the mandate from the public, so a) that piece is old; b) it doesn’t line up with what elected officials are hearing, and c) it’s not necessarily future proof in the community for what the population demographic needs to happen in order to reverse the trend of aging and declining population.”