La Nation launches process for new sports complex

Architecture firms still have about two weeks to throw their name in the hat to get the Nation Municipality’s sport complex project in Limoges. But already, there have been 50 respondents according to Francis Brière, councillor for Ward 4.

“We had to take a couple steps back to go forward,” he said. “We’ve not taken on the project completely under our control.”

Those steps back came after the municipality terminated its original deal with Saint Joseph’s Property Management for a sports dome. The Review asked Brière about paying Saint Joseph’s a cancellation fee.

“That’s in our lawyers’ hands right now, I can’t talk about that publicly yet,” he said.

Community centre uncertainty

The Expression of Interest for the new project was released on July 16. Some within the community took issue with the document’s wording—mainly the use of the word “potential” referring to the community centre.

“It’s not a legally binding contract,” said Brière. “We’ve kept as many doors open as possible for (companies) to generate ideas and come back with some creative designs to allow us for expansion.”

In a private Facebook group, community members reiterated the strong need for a community centre and didn’t want to see that fall by the wayside.

However, the municipality may not need to add a centre to the complex’s design at all. It’s currently in talks with the Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien about taking over the annex near the old fire hall.

Asked about when it’ll know the school board’s decision, Brière said, “There is pressure on our side to push it forward but unfortunately the school board doesn’t feel those same pressures.”

Pool too big of a splash

Other community members brought up the idea for a pool, which saw much support during a feedback session in May.

Brière’s view remained unchanged.

“We simply can’t afford it,” he said and added that the costs he’s seen just to build a pool hover around $10 million. “We’re just not there yet… we need to be fiscally responsible.”

However during the Facebook discussion, he said he’d work towards getting a pool if that’s truly what the community wanted. But with the municipality only having $6 to 6.5 million for the entire project, it isn’t clear how that’d happen.

The next steps are to evaluate the EOI responses with external consultants before launching and Request for Proposal. Brière maintains the community will have many opportunities to offer its input.

“People are thinking that the public consultation is done but that’s not the case at all,” he said.

Finally, Brière said he’s working to see a shovel in the ground for next spring.  

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