Cambridge Wants A Multi-Use Entertainment and Conference Facility

October 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment

Council’s decision to spend $950,000 to purchase Galt’s Old Post Office was not unanimous and the sole dissenter believes the city has its priorities skewed.

Coun. Karl Kiefer opposed the purchase.

“I know I have been talking about the multi-use complex for more than a decade. The city deserves a multi-use facility. It should be next,” he told fellow councillors on Monday night.

Kiefer now intends to post a notice of motion recommending council adopt the multi-use complex as its next major project.

“I’ll also be making a notice of motion on the Preston Spring Gardens. It too should possibly be bought.

“It has been sitting for years and here are many people in the community that are concerned about its future,” he said.

Mayor Doug Craig was quick to point out that the Preston Spring Gardens, the vacant historic hotel at the corner of King and Fountain streets, is privately held.

“I recently met with the owners and they intend to start work again within six months,” Craig said.

“The Preston Springs is a wonderful building, but we need to talk with the owners first.”

In an interview with the Times Wednesday, Kiefer said the multi-use complex project would be a much more costly venture, but is still worth doing.

His original concept for the complex was to have two to four ice rinks, with seating up to 5,000 people. Given the city’s tight budget, Kiefer has reworked his idea.

“I’m still looking for at least a double rink with seating for about 2,500 people, but it’s not just an ice rink. It would also involve commercial, some sort of trade and entertainment centre. I’m looking for something for everyone here,” he said.

Like the Old Post Office project, Kiefer said it is going to need a private sector element.

“It’s a crucial part of it,” he said. “We’ll also want to get the province and the federal government involved.”

While disappointed that the city’s next major project will be the Old Galt Post Office/library expansion, Kiefer said, “I do support it. It has a good business plan.”

In June, council met to go over its capital project priorities and both the Old Post Office and the multi-use complex were adopted. However, council set no pecking order establishing which of the projects would be tackled first.

“That’s the mistake we made as a council,” Kiefer said. “I know the dam at Riverside Park will be next, but what’s third on the list. We’ll have to talk about that.”

Regarding the potential city acquisition of Galt’s Old Post Office, Kiefer said, “If the city is going into the business of acquiring historic buildings I’ve got a couple of beauties for them.”

Kiefer said that before putting forward any motion on the Preston Spring Gardens he was to first talk with the owners to hear what’s happening.

“I want to get my ducks in a row before I do anything,” he said.



Entry filed under: Cambridge, Waterloo Region. Tags: , , , , , , .

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