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In a few days, Town residents will express themselves in a referendum. After more than 50 years in operation, will our current recreation centre, the venerable “REC,” be replaced by a new sports and community centre far better adapted to today’s needs? The decision is yours to make.

If the referendum passes, Mount Royal will soon say good-bye to an outdated, cramped facility in poor condition. Which it wasn’t when it opened, as I’m sure you can imagine.

In the mid-1960s, the REC itself replaced an earlier facility the Town had outgrown. Small and unable to meet the needs of the day, the old centre prevented the Town from offering the more modern activities people were interested in. The problem wasn’t so much the centre’s age but that it wasn’t up to the task.

Today, after more than 50 years of use, the current recreation centre has similarly reached its best-before date. Actually, it has been running at capacity for the last 15 years or so. But times change. Lifestyles evolve. Sports and arts activities go in and out of fashion. And accessibility standards for people with reduced mobility are regularly updated. It’s natural, you know.

When, during the fall 2016 consultations, we queried residents about their needs and the potential new facilities, we weren’t starting from scratch. Earlier surveys had indicated a high level of interest in a new building and details were required. Hundreds of Townies generously and enthusiastically shared their views with us by telephone and at meetings, plenary consultations and smaller gatherings.

One thing is clear: we heard you. The new sports and community centre—for which the Town will have to take out a more than $20-million loan and which will be voted on in the upcoming referendum—is a thoroughly thought-out and well-researched project aligned with Townies’ needs and realities, aligned with our time and, ultimately, aligned with the Mount Royal of today and tomorrow.

Contrary to some of the myths being spread, the project is neither too big nor too expensive. What it is, however, is an opportunity we should seize.

Compared with the library, which was successfully renovated and expanded in 2013, the REC cannot easily be brought up to current tastes and standards. Renovations would temporarily extend its useful life but also extend its many shortcomings. They would also verge on being penny wise and pound foolish. And in a municipality with a financial position as solid as Mount Royal’s, after so many years of putting up with an obsolete recreational facility, that is not something thousands of Townies are keen to consider.

On February 16, vote YES. On February 16, let’s give ourselves the modern, functional facilities we deserve. The sports and community centre is for you!

Philippe Roy

Mayor

90 Roosevelt Avenue

Mont-Royal H3R 1Z5