Perth council considers master plan and future of Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace located on the Tay Basin may get a face-lift as Perth council considers options to refurbish the building. Photo credit:
Posted on: March 6, 2020

The town of Perth is hoping provincial funding may be available to turn a vision of a new indoor recreational facility into reality.

Perth council saw the master plan for a potential indoor recreational facility at a Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, March 3. 

John Hack of Sierra Planning Management presented the report, which outlines possible features of the centre including an indoor ice rink, new pool and a full-size gymnasium. 

Hack describes Perth’s current arena as “functionally obsolescent.” 

A 30 day public consultation period will immediately follow once council votes on the plan and finalizes the 2020 budget at the end of March. 

The masterplan will be posted on the town website on social media pages to allow feedback before the bylaw is passed. 

“If we have CIP (Community Initiatives Program) funding it becomes a reality,” Director of Community Services Shannon Baillon said. “We really can’t make a solid decision until we know the province is going to hold it up.

“The deadlines are tightening up.”

“We’re on the cusp of quite a bit of growth once our building permits are issued,” Councillor Judy Brown said. “Until these structures are built we don’t get to develop fees and taxes. We have to spend a large amount of money on these facilities.”

“This is not the final plan,” Deputy Mayor Ed McPherson said. “It may still be subject to changes.” 

Council is also considering options for refurbishing the Crystal Palace.

The Crystal Palace is a staple in downtown Perth, but has suffered from the elements since 1983 when it originally was constructed as a bus shelter on Rideau Avenue in Ottawa. It moved to Perth in 1993. Today, it suffers from flooding and leaks after rainstorms and rust on the outside panelling. 

Eastern Engineering Group provided an estimate based on three options: keeping the existing building, replacing the roof with infill or replacing the existing building. 

“I gave them criteria based on what people asked us for,” Director Baillon said. 

The main complaints about the Crystal Palace are the lack of washroom facilities in the building and not being open year-round. 

The first option retains the existing glass features, but does not provide year-round service or solves the leakage issues at a cost of $112,750. The second option of replacing the roof has the possibility of year-round operation for $500,000. The final option would be a new 6,000 square foot building with washrooms, catering facilities and storage for $1.6 million. 

“I personally feel like it’s not the time to put this much money into the palace when we’re still making money off of it,” Councillor Leona Cameron said. 

The Crystal Palace is booked for weddings and other events through 2021.

Article by Emilie Must

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News