Sunday, April 11, 2021

More public consultation sought for ‘Community Hub’ concept

More public consultation is being sought surrounding the concept for a Community Hub in Wallaceburg.

Councillor Aaron Hall brought forward a motion to explore the idea of a hub on Monday at the November 18 Chatham-Kent Council meeting.

After a discussion around the Council table, Chatham Councillor Doug Sulman entered a successful motion to refer the motion back to administration for more public consultation.

“Councillor Carmen McGregor and I will be reaching out to interested individuals, groups and stakeholders in Wallaceburg to gather more details and dig deeper into what the specific needs are,” Hall posted on social media.

“We’ll be in touch and will keep everyone in the loop throughout the process.”

Thomas Kelly, the general manager of infrastructure and engineering in Chatham-Kent, said at Monday’s meeting he had concerns about timing and resources to create a report. He said it is likely that a project coordinator and an architect would need to be hired, with an estimated cost of $50,000.

Hall’s motion was asking administration to investigate and provide options to Council about building a new facility in Wallaceburg, or retrofitting an existing building within the community.

He said multiple community groups and organizations in Wallaceburg have expressed an interest and need for a new space and location in order to fully maximize their goals. Hall had requested in his motion for consultation with interested community groups, businesses and organizations to be incorporated into a staff report, which he requested to be brought back to Council by April of 2020.

“I’ve spoken with our CAO Don Shropshire and Thomas Kelly, our General Manager of Infrastructure & Engineering Services, and they have committed to assist with this engagement,” Hall said on social media.

“There is some information already gathered from staff after looking at a similar idea a few years ago in Ridgetown.”

Hall said he is looking to hear from the public about the idea.

“Anyone with an idea, or any group/organization that believes they could benefit from a Community Hub in Wallaceburg, please email us at carmen.mcgregor@chatham-kent.ca or aaron.hall@chatham-kent.ca,” he posted.

Hall said some of the groups he has already heard from focus on a wide spectrum within the community, including: arts, music, seniors and inclusiveness.

Paul Cherrey, a representative from the Wallaceburg Adult Activity Centre, provided a deputation on Monday night, in support of Hall’s motion.

Based on previous work done by staff, Kelly said the estimated cost of building a community hub in Ridgetown, by retrofitting a school, would have cost upwards to $11-million.

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