Walking track gains traction in Minden
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | November 2, 2017|
It appears a pool may be dead in the water, but talk of an indoor walking track is gaining traction in Minden Hills.
At an Oct. 26 meeting, council formally approved a $6.5 million major renovation of the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena with dressing room, office and gym facility enhancements. They further gave the green light for staff to prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) for engineering and architectural services. They also dissolved the arena task force and will form an arena building task force.
During the discussion, three councillors raised the issue of a walking track.
Coun. Jeanne Anthon said “I am expressing interest in the walking track concept.” Coun. Ron Nesbitt said he had received six calls with 100 per cent support for a walking track and Coun. Lisa Schell said she also had calls.
On the streets of downtown Minden this week, there seemed to be support for a walking track.
Anna Vince, for example, likes the idea. She worries about elderly members of the community who are forced to walk on snow and ice during the winter months.
“Just the safety factor … we have five months of winter. And it’s a liability issue for the township so an indoor walking track would be to their advantage," she said.
In an email to The Highlander, director of community services, Mark Coleman said “walking tracks come in different designs, some are elevated ($1 million), some are on the ground level exterior of the boards and stands if the building is big enough.”
He added that fitness room costs also vary, with costs of possibly $500,000 to build and $50,000 to $100,000 for equipment.
The Town of Hanover installed a walking track in 2010 and hasn’t looked back, says Sherri Walden, the director of parks, recreation and culture with the council.
She doesn’t know the specific cost of the track, saying it was just one component in a nearly $11 million overhaul of the arena and community centre. They were fortunate to receive $7 million in federal and provincial dollars, kicking in $2 million themselves while $1.8 million was fundraised.
Walden said about 75 people a day use the track, paying by donation.
At the Minden Hills council meeting, Mayor Brent Devolin said a re-design of the 45-year-old building “doesn’t preclude anything.” He said they need to prepare the RFP so they can “accurately know what’s possible.”
He added there would be an opportunity for further public input. During public question time, resident Patrick Walshe called on council to select an arena building task force better balanced to reflect the community than the now disbanded arena task force, which he said comprised “one female and mostly old men.”
Peter Oyler, Dwight Thomas and Jim Garbutt were the public members of the task force while the elected members were Devolin, Nesbitt and Schell.
In addition, Coun. Pam Sayne said she wanted more information on the proposed gymnasium facility enhancement. She also feels council needs to do more to explore energy efficiency.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.