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Published on Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Old hospital site plans move ahead

Public meetings next and decisions at end of June

Old hospital site plans move ahead
Aerial view of old OTMH site
By Nathan Howes, Oakville Beaver

The Town of Oakville’s proposals for redeveloping the former hospital property will take another step forward next month.

At a special meeting Tuesday, May 2, council deferred financial and site-planning decisions on the former Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) property, including the proposed Southeast Oakville Community Centre, to a June 26 meeting, or to another, unspecified, special council meeting if Mayor Rob Burton chooses.

Three complementary staff reports and recommendations regarding the former lands at 327 Reynolds St. were presented, and approved, May 2 — a financial overview, master plan and the proposed Southeast Oakville Community Centre.

Information from the first report was received, while council deferred approval on the base program cost for the community centre, estimated at $30 million, to June 26.

At that time, council will also provide direction on the centre’s proposed inclusion of a fitness centre estimated at $2.4 million, double gym expansion estimated at $450,000, therapy pool estimated at $2.3 million, and a walking track estimated at $1.8 million.

Staff will also report back to council on revenue estimates from interior sponsorships and will consult with the public on a trio of draft options for the site design of the property on June 1 — before the June 26 meeting.

The 2017 capital budget and 10-year forecast includes $12.3 million for the demolition of the former hospital building, expected to begin this summer, and $30 million for the construction of the Southeast Community Centre and retrofit of the former hospital’s parking garage and former Oakville Trafalgar High School.

The tally is an estimate and final costs could be plus or minus 15 per cent, depending on market conditions and final design, according to the town.

The community centre budget is based on a 40,000-square-foot, one-storey building with a 25-metre indoor pool (to replace Centennial Pool), fitness centre, gymnasium, multi-purpose rooms and space for intergenerational programming.

If the community centre were attached to the former high school, it would increase the cost by about $1.2 million.

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The full-life cost of the facility (excluding expenses and revenue associated with programming the facility), including the parking garage, is estimated at $61.4 million.

This includes all required maintenance and repairs necessary to keep the infrastructure in a state of good repair over a 30-year period, as well as facility construction.

Regarding the aquatic centre, residents were previously advised the base program included a 25-metre pool to replace Centennial Pool.

Representatives of the Oakville Aquatic Club requested the town consider upgrading it to a 50-metre pool to address club training needs and growing club membership.

On Tuesday, David Shemilt, on behalf of the club and other local swimming organizations, asked council to delay a decision on the natatorium, particularly regarding the size, pending more work with town staff and residents’ associations to ensure the design maximizes programming and access at all pools in Oakville.

He proposed the pool be upgraded to 50 metres in size to accommodate current and future needs.

“Adding a pool of the exact same dimensions in the community centre will actually frustrate your residents, who are hoping to have increased access to a pool,” said Shemilt.

“If history is a guide, we will continue to seek more space, but you will have an additional problem. The residents who oppose us now will be here four years from now complaining they don’t have access to the new pool.”

Shemilt suggested council defer a decision for another eight to 10 weeks, which may not be in time for the June 26 meeting.

However, Burton suggested Shemilt could come back to council with his findings whenever he is ready, as plans could be amended at any time.

An April 25 Southeast Oakville Community Centre staff report stated many residents, however, felt the size and scope of it should be relative to the site, and they cited concerns related to traffic resulting from swim meets, among others.

Many also identified the need for warm water programming provided within a therapeutic pool.

Town staff estimated the expansion would require an additional 24,000 square feet and the additional capital costs associated with expanding a 25-metre pool to a 50-metre pool range from $16.7 million to $20.7 million, depending on the added amenities such as movable floor, thermal bulkhead and seating.

Ward 1 Coun. Sean O’Meara questioned Shemilt on the additional capital costs associated with building a 50-metre pool.

In addition to the capital costs, more full-time and part-time staff would be needed to operate a larger pool and the operating expenses of a 50-metre pool far exceed those of one 25 metres in size, according to the town.

A public forum on the three draft options for the former hospital site design has been scheduled for Thursday, June 1, but no time or location has been set, yet.

To view the three options, visit Oakville.ca.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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