Saint John will demolish Loch Lomond centre
City staff will try find other funding partners to build a replacement facility
Saint John council has ordered the demolition of the Loch Lomond Community Centre but it is unclear whether a new facility will ever replace the 70-year-old post-and-beam building.
The vote to demolish the aging community centre, which was deemed unsafe earlier this year, was unanimous at a council meeting on Monday.
The building will be torn down before the end of the year, but it is unlikely the centre will be replaced unless the city can find outside funding partners to help pay the bills.
Coun. Ray Strowbridge is one of the politicians who is pushing for a new building that could be cost-shared with the provincial government and surrounding communities.
"People use it and people definitely need it," he said on Monday.
Saint John-Fundy Progressive Conservative MLA Glen Savoie said earlier this week the centre’s demolition would be a devastating blow to his riding.
The provincial politician said he’s going to push for some provincial funding if the city decides to rebuild the community centre.
But the desire of politicians, such as Strowbridge and Savoie, may be a tough sell with Saint John councilors, such as Susan Fullerton.
"With a little attention from city staff and from the people who are putting the activities on they can find somewhere else to have them," Fullerton said.
"There's not that many activities. We just don't have the money."
Unlike Fullerton, Coun. Shirley McAlary and Deputy Mayor Shelley Rinehart say they aren't closing the door entirely to a new centre.
But it is clear a substantial portion of the estimated $400,000 bill will have to be paid by someone else.
Kevin Watson, the recreation manager in Saint John, said city staff will try now to make a business case that other levels of government and the centre's neighbours can accept.
"Any type of funding would be contingent upon having other partners at the table in equal partnership," Watson said.