Labrador West coun­cils at odds over re­cre­ation fund­ing

Mike Adams Re­cre­ation Com­plex still slated to close in Jan­uary

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Front Page - BY MIKE POWER

It’s been sev­eral weeks since the Wabush town coun­cil an­nounced they are go­ing to close the Mike Adams Re­cre­ation Com­plex in early Jan­uary 2019.

For sev­eral years the town said the cost of the cen­tre is too big a bur­den for the small town’s bud­get. An agree­ment was to be in place last year, with fund­ing from the Town of Labrador City and other stake­hold­ers.

That agree­ment fell apart and this year the Town of Wabush found it­self in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion. Af­ter the most re­cent an­nounce­ment, Labrador West MHA Gra­ham Letto set up a se­ries of meet­ings with the towns and other stake­hold­ers in­volved in an ef­fort to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion.

At one point into those meet­ings Letto, who was serves as min­is­ter of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, said he was op­ti­mistic that an agree­ment could be reached soon.

As of Tues­day Dec. 11, how­ever, an agree­ment had still not been signed. Both coun­cils gave their sides on the on­go­ing is­sue and what they see as the road­blocks.

Labrador City per­spec­tive

Dur­ing the Town of Labrador City’s bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion on Dec. 11, Mayor Wayne But­ton used the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plain their side of the pro­posal put for­ward dur­ing those talks. Be­fore be­gin­ning the pre­sen­ta­tion, the mayor ex­plained there was an ob­jec­tion to read­ing the doc­u­ment by Coun­cil­lor Nick McGrath.

“I didn’t see the ben­e­fit of read­ing the speech that was de­liv­ered, it didn’t ben­e­fit any­one, I pre­fer a qui­eter, proac­tive ap­proach,” McGrath told The Aurora.

At the cen­ter of the is­sue is fund­ing. The Town of Labrador City has pro­posed a new re­gional well­ness cen­tre.

But­ton said in his ad­dress, broad­cast live on the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Face­book page, that they ap­proached Wabush with a four-year plan de­signed to make sure that the area would re­tain the ser­vice of the cur­rent fa­cil­ity while the new com­plex was be­ing built.

In ex­plain­ing the pro­posal, But­ton said it re­quired the Town of Labrador City pay 80 per cent of the cost of the Wabush pool and a plan to work on a joint cap­i­tal fundrais­ing pro­gram for the new com­plex.

Ac­cord­ing to the Town of Labrador City, the cost of the pro­posed project is $36.5 mil­lion and they have be­gun ap­pli­ca­tions for 80/20 cost shar­ing with the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments. If suc­cess­ful, that will leave Labrador West fund­ing about $7.4 mil­lion with ap­prox­i­mately $1.2 mil­lion from Wabush.

In ad­di­tion, But­ton said they also worked with other stake­hold­ers who said both par­ties have to be com­mit­ted for them to come on­board. But­ton says to date they have not re­ceived any ver­bal or writ­ten con­fir­ma­tion from the Town of Wabush that they plan to ac­cept the pro­posal.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, But­ton says he has no idea why there is a re­luc­tance to go ahead with the deal.

Wabush view

The Town of Wabush has a very dif­fer­ent view of the pro­posal.

They re­leased a state­ment on the evening of Dec. 11 say­ing the orig­i­nal fund­ing deal had fallen apart be­cause they would not agree to the fund­ing com­mit­ments of the pro­posed well­ness cen­tre.

They in­di­cated when they were ap­proached, Labrador City ini­tially wanted them to com­mit $2,190,000 to­wards the new fa­cil­ity, which the Town of Wabush could not af­ford.

“The Town of Wabush’s re­sponse to the amount re­quested was that we were not in a po­si­tion to com­mit this amount due to the neg­a­tive im­pact this will have on the Town’s abil­ity to bor­row for its own in­fra­struc­ture needs.

MIKE POWER—SPE­CIAL TO THE AURORA

Labrador City Mayor Wayne But­ton speaks on the is­sue of re­gional re­cre­ation and ex­plains the Town of Labrador City’s po­si­tion on the re­cent events that have tran­spired around re­cre­ation.

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