Castor arena supporters voice concerns

Thirty-five arena renovation supporters attended the regular Castor town council meeting on April 23. Many of the supporters voiced their concerns, questioned why the project has not been pushed forward and not been given a financial backing by the town.
“Is it possible to clear the air about why the project is held up?” asked Phillip Pals. “What happened? There are many myths as to why it has been held up.”
“Natasha and Stacey brought plans to council,” answered Mayor Richard Elhard, “and we went over it, and council did not want to commit and start demolition without seeing bids for what the project is going to cost.”
Castor Recreation Director, Natasha Bozek, shared that there have been issues with the architects and that the plans had finally been received and tenders were to be received by April 26.
”This is a good showing of people and parents investing in their kids,” spoke Brian Turner, “It’s nice to see the investment go back into our facilities, hospitals, schooling, sports facilities.
“This is what we need to build our town with. This is what we need to keep the kids in town. Even though our fire department is an important value in this town our facilities are important also,” concluded Turner.
“I feel that,” said Tammy Spady, “and I’m sure everyone in this room feels that next to our hospitals, our facilities are the most important to draw people into our town, to keep people in town, to bring families back to our town.”
“Where we are at is, we have no wheelchair accessible washrooms, no girls change rooms, our ref room has no utilities as far as showers and toilets.”
“Your facilities are very important to keep updated and maintained. I feel that if we don’t start somewhere, we will lose people who are supporting this project, the people who have donated money, the people who have donated lots of time.
“At what point do people who have gave so much money want it back,” continued Spady, “I feel that as a town it should be in your best interest to support this project.
“Our window of opportunity is closing. I feel that it is important for your businesses, and for people in your town and surrounding community to have the facility upgraded.”
Administration shared that there is no money available to give to the project and that the funds would need to be borrowed. According to Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sandi Jackson, the town currently does have borrowing power.
“We need numbers, we have never had numbers,” said Coun. Lonny Nelner, “As far as I know, this council never said it wasn’t going ahead, so I am not sure where that came from. But we have never had any kind of a firm number.”
According to Bozek, the Castor Recreation Board has $450,000, although $175,000 is grant funding that is to be spent by September.
“As mayor, I am very proud of these people, young people, seniors, business people supporting the arena project,” shared Richard Elhard after the meeting,” They were very thoughtful and well spoken and support the future of Castor.”

Emily Wheller
ECA Review

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