The survey results from residents and community were presented to the township’s council at a May 3 meeting. Project managers Colliers International received 1029 responses to a public questionnaire, while two public consultation meetings were held in early March on the plan.
The questionnaire found residents rated the pool as the highest priority item to include in the centre, followed by arenas, a library, and a performing arts centre. Food services, such as a canteen or coffee shop, were also considered high priorities inside the main recreation centre building.
Forty-five user groups, including sporting clubs, fitness groups, and library users were also surveyed on the project and their vision for the complex. Mayor Pierre Leroux said he was pleased so many groups had participated, but noted that between 20 and 25 other associations did not provide feedback.
“I found that a little bit unfortunate that all these user groups did not participate, I was hoping for much more public feedback,” he said. “We’re looking at the biggest project in Russell Township history.”
Council also heard that the project was on schedule and on budget. Colliers submitted an environmental impact study and geotechnical investigations on the first phase of the complex, while expressions of interest were issued for interested builders and developers.
A layout of the first phase of the project, including the Jonathan Pitre accessible park, tennis and basketball courts, was presented to council during the meeting. The expanded parking lot for the complex was also included in the map, but councillor André Brisson expressed concern that only two disabled parking spaces were featured in the plan.
“I would consider adding more in there, especially as the park is supposed to be for them,” he said.
Leroux and councillor Mike Tarnowski asked that the accessible park and parking meet more than the minimum standards for such a project. Leroux said he expected the park to be similar to Sacha’s Park in L’Orignal, which he said had appeared to attract more families to that village.
“Yes, there are minimum standards for accessibility, but I think we need to look beyond minimum,” he said.
The next steps in the project include a site plan review, and the pre-purchasing of playground equipment. The first draft of the indoor recreation centre is expected to be presented later this year.