« The sports complex gives an opportunity for the community to get together, » said Mayor Paula Assaly during a recent session of Hawkesbury council’s committee of the whole.
Nicole Macdonald and Alain Grégoire of Colliers Project Leaders, a consultant firm hired to review the status of the sports centre, presented council with an outline of the firm’s review plan for the facility.
The plan includes an online public survey through the municipal website during July to get comments from residents, both regular users of the facility and drop-in visitors, about programs and services offered now and suggestions about improvements to the building they would like to see. Meetings with local community recreation groups and clubs will also take place to get feedback on their needs.
MacDonald noted that the Robert Hartley Sports Complex review will answer three questions. First is what do residents of Hawkesbury want for their main indoor recreation facility, what features does it lack, and what opportunities exist to improve the programs and services offered?
The second question, MacDonald stated, is how much longer can the 40-year-old building continue to operate before it may need major upgrade work.
« How many more years can we expect? » she said, adding that a technical engineering study is necessary to assess the state of the existing structure.
This study will determine if the building can continue to serve with some additional renovation work and upgrading to meet present and future user service and safety needs, or if the town may need to start planning for future construction of a new facility.
The technical engineering study will include estimates of what improvements may be needed. That information will help answer the review’s final question about what options may be available for council and administration to consider.
Councillor Robert Lefebvre described the sports complex and other recreation facilities as « almost an essential service now » as shown during the past two years of the pandemic. He noted that these opportunities for residents of all ages to get out and enjoy some form of physical and mental relaxation were critical during the lockdowns.
Councillor Lawrence Bogue noted that public involvement in deciding the future of the Robert Hartley Sports Complex is essential as demands on the building’s facilities increases in the future.
« We’re going to have a lot of people in that building for programs and such, » he said. « The big thing is to get the people involved. »