It wasn’t without controversy, but a flat-roof pergola will be installed at the entrance of the Bracebridge Sportsplex.
The $450,000 project will be included as part of the town’s draft 2022 municipal budget and business plan. It was approved by council with a seven to two vote.
Treasurer Paul Judson said that they’re awaiting word from the provincial government on if they have been approved for a grant through the Canada Community Building Fund. “We’re hopeful it will be soon,” he said, adding staff believe they meet one of the fund’s goals, which is to improve accessibility.
In a report to council from Will Crowe, Manager of Facilities, and Cindy O’Regan, Director of Recreation, they write about constant complaints from seniors and individuals with mobility issues that the walkway is not accessible, notably in the winter.
The existing pergola’s wood elements have “deteriorated,” according to the report and sections of it had to be removed.
Staff put forward two alternative options for the pergola, but council chose the recommended one.
While the option of installing a heated entrance was looked at, O’Regan says it wouldn’t be possible because of how expensive it would be along with concerns about how effective it would be. “When the temperature is below -10 the electric heating system becomes inefficient and ineffective to operate and during heavy snowfalls, the entranceway would still require staff to perform snow removal duties,” she wrote.
The possibility of extending the pergola to cover the sidewalk was also brought up, but O’Regan said the cover has to end where the sidewalk starts.
Councillor Steven Clement pointed out that while snow may still blow onto the walkway, the point of the project is not to do away with it completely. The idea, he said, is to put less of a burden on staff to make sure the walkway is always completely cleared.
Councillor Don Smith and Councillor Mark Quemby were the two dissenting votes.
Smith pointed out how the town will be budgeting for around 10 new positions next year, adding he wonders if the money could be spent better on that, or other projects.