Community hub project plans coming


By David Judd

Norfolk’s community hub project will soon unveil plans to build a $50-million facility.
The county has narrowed down a list of sites and is negotiating with property owners.
And finishing touches are being made to drawings.
Norfolk will apply this fall for funding from a federal-provincial infrastructure program, Port Dover Coun. Amy Martin said in an interview last week.
The project is very close to “shovel ready,” Coun. Martin said. Details on a site will be made public soon then fundraising will begin.
Federal and provincial money is essential to the hub. Norfolk County cannot afford the project on its own, Coun. Martin said.
Last week Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced $1 billion will be available under the Canada Infrastructure Program for local projects such as community centres, sports arenas and cultural centres.
Norfolk’s Recreational Facilities Advisory Board aims to replace Simcoe’s aging indoor swimming pool, arenas and seniors centre.
The board was looking at $60 million in new facilities. But the Ontario funding program has set $50 million as the maximum project size.
The board is tweaking drawings to reflect a price of about $49 million, Coun. Martin said.
Residents who want the hub should tell local MPP Toby Barrett, Coun. Martin said.
Coun. Martin led a Norfolk presentation about the hub to provincial infrastructure officials at last week’s Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa. Officials from the Ministry of Infrastructure were impressed, she said.
Coun. Martin showed surveys that support new facilities.
And she explained that building a hub would be cheaper in the long run than repairing old buildings.
The province is looking for efficiencies and partnerships, Coun. Martin said. Fanshawe College will be among Norfolk hub’s partners. “I’m all in on this,” Coun. Martin said. “Why wouldn’t you want Norfolk to bring home some money?”

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