Renovating Hudson’s Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
The roof on the building housing the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 115 Hudson and the curling rink are on the list of proposed renovations covered by a controversial loan by-law.
On Tuesday, April 11, Hudson Town Council issued a statement in response to the controversy on social media regarding Loan By-law 687-2017 approved at the council meeting on Monday, April 3.
Described as an “umbrella” by-law, it provides for a loan in the amount of $555,000 for renovations to the community centre. At the same time, according to the statement, the town applied for a grant through the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program (PIC150). The requested grant amount is for 50 per cent of the eligible costs, up to $250,000. *
In a meeting with Your Local Journal this week, Mayor Ed Prévost, and Councillors Natalie Best and Nicole Durand emphasized if the town does not receive the PIC150 grant, the loan by-law will be withdrawn. In fact, Section 5 of the by-law states that it is conditional on obtaining the grant from the federal government.
Renovation plans include replacement of the roof, electrical connections and an upgrade to the kitchen facilities. Best also pointed out that since the building is designated as an emergency refuge centre for the town, the generator requires a permanent connection to the building. The statement indicates other mechanical components such as air conditioning, heating, lighting, and sanitary installations must be redone. “A lot of groups use the kitchen,” said Best adding, “each and every time we have an event such as the Breakfast with Santa, the breaker switches keep shutting off.” There are also plans for an access ramp to the youth centre for those with reduced mobility and repairs to the exterior parking lot.
Ownership of building
The mayor and councillors pointed out the Community Centre and the attached building housing the Royal Canadian Legion Hudson Branch 115 belongs to, and is entirely the responsibility of, the Town of Hudson. When asked if any of the money, either from the loan by-law or the Canada 150 grant would be given to the Legion, the response was an emphatic ‘no.’ “This is an infrastructure loan and grant to repair the building,” said Best.
Type of Loan
An umbrella loan by-law was chosen for several reasons. “It looks more favourable with the government and gives us the flexibility of waiting until we know if we will receive the grant before putting out a call for tenders,” said Durand.
Repayment and taxes
Repayment of the loan-by law will happen over 20 years. According to Section 3 of the by-law, a special tax will be levied on taxable properties of the territory of the town based on their value as it appears on the assessment roll in force each year. “One part of it will be paid on the spot in the first year by the $250,000 grant,” said Roy. ”One of the reasons we are using a low interest loan by-law is that we spread out the burden over more generations,” he added. “It’s not only us who will be using the building, but also people who move to Hudson in the future,” said Best.
A registry regarding the loan by-law will be open Tuesday, April 18, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Town Hall located at 481 Main Road.
In the second paragraph of the original version of this article, it was stated, “the town (Hudson) will apply for a grant”. The sentence should have read, “the town has applied for a grant”. On Thursday April 13, Town of Hudson Grant Coordinator Simon Corriveau said that a grant application was made by the town at the end of 2015 or early 2016. He did not have the specific date available on Thursday. Corriveau was recently hired by the town to make and follow grant applications.