Concept drawing of upgrade to Matsqui Recreation Centre.

Concept drawing of upgrade to Matsqui Recreation Centre.

Pipeline golf course cash could help fund Abbotsford community centre expansion

Fire insurance will pay for rebuilt Ledgeview clubhouse, so Kinder Morgan money can be redirected, city says

A compensatory gift of $1.3 million from Kinder Morgan for a new clubhouse at Ledgeview Golf Course could be used to help fund an upgrade of the Matsqui Recreation Centre (MRC) on Clearbrook Rd.

Mayor Henry Braun said with fire insurance expected to cover the cost of building a new clubhouse, there is nothing to prevent the city from using the Kinder Morgan funds for a different project.

“There are no conditions (on the Kinder Morgan agreement),” Braun told The News.

On Monday, council voted to apply for federal money to cover much of the cost of a $9.75 million MRC expansion, with the Kinder Morgan cash listed among the additional funding sources.

Braun said the proposal was tentative and depended on the MRC project being eligible for the new Canada Cultural Space fund announced in the 2016 federal budget, which will invest an additional $168.2 million over two years into “cultural infrastructure” across Canada.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we have a shot at this,” Braun said.

The MRC expansion would add a two-storey, 27,000-sq.ft. addition to the MRC and includes a 5,400-sq.ft. renovation and facility upgrade.

The new community cultural centre would offer arts, culture and heritage programs, including an outdoor performance space, “new and repurposed spaces” for cultural and recreation activities, and a new entrance with a “social gathering place” that features public art and heritage displays.

A report to council from recreation and culture director Allyson Friesen indicated that based on the average federal contribution from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, Abbbotsford could expect to get about 37 per cent of the cost, which would work out to about $3.6 million of the MRC project.

Adding the $1.3 million Kinder Morgan funding would leave $4.8 million to be covered, which the report said would come from the “Community Works Fund” which is money allocated from the federal gas tax to municipalities “or other funding sources.”

Getting a go-ahead from the federal government would allow construction of the new facility sooner than planned, Friesen said.

If the federal funding doesn’t come through, the project would be added to the city budget for 2020.

In February, the city signed a “mutual benefits agreement” with Kinder Morgan Canada that would see the pipeline company contribute $1.3 million towards a new clubhouse if the federal government gives the go-ahead to the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline later this year.

The pipeline, which predates the city-owned course, runs directly through Ledgeview and crosses parts of 10 different holes.

Fire at golf course

File photo

In April, fire destroyed the existing clubhouse, a structure that originally belonged to the land’s previous owners and which had been converted into a clubhouse around 1980.

The fire insurance is expected to cover the cost of building a newer, bigger facility.

The City of Abbotsford has put a call out for proposals to build a new structure that would include a 250-seat banquet facility, double the capacity of the previous clubhouse.