In addition to the information provided in the agenda for the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting tonight, more info was made available at the actual meeting. Some of it was a surprise to Councillors and caused quite a discussion – so I am providing an unusual follow up to yesterday’s post. Leslie Murray led the YMCA delegation but Mark Galonski from the YMCA board was helping. As noted in the addendum to yesterday’s article, the Y is not planning to merge with the CCC since the joint YMCA/ Town committee decided against that. In their presentation Leslie and Mark said that they wanted Town support in the form of $500,000 spread over 5 years starting in 2021 – but Councillors were not warned of this in the Agenda – it came as a surprise.
Other details were provided too:
- The Aquatic Centre would be a new building – not an extension or upgrade of the existing 40 year old building;
- There would be two pools plus other features;
- The cost is estimated at $30M – up from the previous $25M estimate at the CCC.
- Since the grant being applied for only provides 73% of the funds, the balance must be raised – but that does not mean the town must provide it. The YMCA expects to raise the remaining $8M from the community (fund-raising) and debt. In the case of the other applications for grants, the balance was to be funded by the Town thus showing commitment to the project.
When it came to “Delegation Actions”, Emily moved that the Town agree with the YMCA’s request – that is, 1) provide a letter of recommendation and 2) agree to the funding of $500K.
Councillor Nicole Beatty moved that this motion be divided and part one passed with little discussion. But few were sold on the idea of committing to the $500K.
- Mayor John Henderson was concerned with the impact on the budget and with treating all those asking for money equally – e.g. Ed‘s House, NHH and others. He pointed out that the request for $500K was added at the last minute. He also later said that the application may jeopardize the Town’s other applications; he suggested possibly providing “in kind” support.
- Councillor Emily Chorley said that she understood that a financial commitment was needed to show that the Town supported the application and suggested possibly a smaller amount.
- Councillor Adam Bureau said that asking for a decision in 5 minutes allowed too little time.
- Councillor Brian Darling said that the request for $500K was added at the last minute and agreed that too little time was allowed for a decision. He suggested waiting until the decision on the grant award was known – expected in the Spring of 2020.
- Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that to have a chance of getting the grant, the Town needed to show support – that is, to “have skin in the game”. But she was not optimistic that the application would succeed.
- Councillor Aaron Burchat said that applications are much stronger if there are municipal dollars included. He suggested promising financial support without specifying the amount. He said that since the YMCA is used by people outside Cobourg, other municipalities should also support it.
- Councillor Nicole Beatty agreed with Henderson and Darling and said more time was needed and that the amount should be discussed in budget deliberations.
When the vote was called, Emily’s motion failed 3 – 4 with only Emily, Aaron and Suzanne in favour.
Although the Town will supply the requested letter of recommendation, based on comments and how competitive the process is, I’m not confident that the request for a grant will be approved.
- Previous article on this subject – 3 Nov 2019 – Note also the links in this article.