Residents who attended West Hants council’s latest meeting anticipating an update on the new sports facility were out of luck.
West Hants councillors met March 12 for council’s regular monthly meeting. On the agenda was the awarding of the design-build contract to Lindsay Construction Limited and a recommendation report on purchasing land from the Windsor Agricultural Society in order to place the new sports complex.
But before those items made their way to the floor for discussion, council held a 40-minute in camera (private) session to discuss litigation or potential litigation. When council chambers reopened to the public, the regular meeting resumed and council voted to table awarding the $14,601,794 plus applicable taxes and contingencies design-build. They also delayed making any decision relating to the purchase and sale of the land from the Windsor Agricultural Society.
In a brief interview following the council meeting, chief administrative officer Martin Laycock said he couldn’t elaborate much but indicated staff needs to gather more information before moving forward with the design-build recommendation.
As for why they didn’t discuss purchasing four acres of land at the Hants County Exhibition grounds in Windsor, which is where the new sports complex is slated to be built, Laycock said the design-build contract needs to be awarded first.
“Really it’s all predicated on that so there’s no point discussing it until we have a final answer,” he said.
“We don’t want to purchase land without something to go on it so we want to make sure that that is sorted out first.”
Laycock said he anticipates council will deal with both items at the next council meeting on April 9. However, he said the warden may call a special council meeting before then if he deems it necessary.
"We've got to make sure we do this right," Laycock said.
In August of 2018, West Hants council made a commitment to move forward with the construction of a new rink. This came after several failed community-based attempts to see a new arena built in Windsor, with the last attempt being a municipal-community partnership to develop a hockey heritage arena at Long Pond. When that fell through, West Hants took the reins and proposed the arena be built near the existing Hants Exhibition Arena on Wentworth Road. In September 2018, council voted to add on a multi-use sports field to the building. Federal and provincial partners have announced a combined commitment to fund $9 million of the $14.6 million facility, with an additional $1 million coming from the Town of Windsor. West Hants has requested Windsor consider funding an additional $800,000 for the soccer pitch. West Hants will be on the tab for the remaining costs, and has a fundraising committee in place to help.
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