On this page, you will find all the information about the new sports and community centre. Mount Royal residents will be asked to vote on whether or not the Town will proceed with the construction of this facility, for which the community has been waiting so long.
 
The vote will take place during a referendum to be held on February 16, 2020 (advance polling on February 9 and 10, 2020). Learn everything there is to know about the referendum.

The Town is counting on the support of residents in favour of the project. Several citizens have already expressed their commitment to this community project. If you are also in favour of the project and would like to get involved, please write to us at YesToNewREC@town.mount-royal.qc.ca and provide us with your contact details. You will be contacted during the next few days to discuss how you can help.

Views of the centre

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The sports and community centre project has evolved significantly since 2016, when extensive consultations were held. But one constant remains: once it is built and functional, the new centre will become like the library, i.e. a place Townies are drawn to. Though the centre will be the first entirely new municipal building constructed in TMR in more than 50 years, the renovation and expansion of the Reginald J. P. Dawson Library in 2013, with its high-quality architecture and modern facilities, showed that such projects led to a significant improvement in services and an increase in user satisfaction. It is an excellent model to emulate.

Sports and recreation are sorely in need of the same attention. The time has come to build the sports and community centre the Town deserves, to ensure our living environment maintains its appeal for years to come. The sports and community centre project is structuring and entirely thought through. It means activities will no longer be scattered across the Town in rented facilities. It will give the Town a new meeting place, a hub – like the Recreation Centre (REC) used to be back in the 1960s – located in the best possible spot: in Town centre, the civic heart of the municipality, where the community naturally comes together.

Timeline

Excavation and foundation: summer 2020 - fall 2020
Construction of the building: winter 2021 - summer 2021
Interior work: fall 2021 - winter 2022
End of the work: summer 2022
Expected opening: fall 2022

Powerpoint presentation: information session on January 23, 2020

Download a presentation that was prepared by the Recreation, Culture and Community Activities Department. It was projected during a public information session on January 23, 2020.

At all times, residents are invited to forward any question they might have to complexe.sportif@ville.mont-royal.qc.ca.

  • A need indicated in successive surveys and strongly confirmed during consultations
  • Ever-longer waiting lists
  • Current rented and municipal facilities, including the REC, are obsolescent
  • High annual rental and maintenance costs
  • Lack of specialized sports facilities
  • Several activities simply cannot be offered
  • Lagging behind comparable towns and cities
  • Need to accommodate the natural increase in the number of users

Many advantages

  • Open from 7:00 to 22:00, seven days a week
  • Access to entire building secured
  • Double gymnasium: new sports, year-round
  • Significantly more (4 times more) space for groups (REC’s 31,000 ft2 vs. new centre’s 128,000 ft2)
  • New programs and activities
  • Modern, user-friendly meeting rooms with video-conferencing
  • Up-to-date multimedia components (jacks and Wi-Fi) throughout the building
  • Comfortable spaces for relaxing and resting
  • Food options (bistro) that are modest but better than vending machines
  • Courses/activities for everyone in the family, held at the same time
  • Access to a weight room
  • Accessible, convenient, modern facilities in one place in Town centre
  • Environment-friendly:
    • Green roof (40% of the surface area)
    • Geothermal system
    • LED lighting
  • A place that encourages healthy lifestyles
  • One location and well-thought-out cohabitation, helping to build community spirit

Families

  • Near home
  • Smoother cohabitation: parents and children can take part in activities for their respective age groups during the same visit
  • Improved offer featuring several popular new activities (climbing, indoor basketball, spinning, volleyball, badminton, indoor soccer, range of swimming options, etc.)
  • Family changing rooms
  • Spaces can be rented for celebrations and other purposes

Seniors

  • Near home
  • Multiple public transit options, including those on Brittany
  • Bigger and better seniors’ lounge
  • Facilities and schedules better adapted to simultaneous use by different user groups
  • Professional kitchen, improved Meals on Wheels

Reduced mobility

  • Multiple public transit options
  • Building access is 100% adapted, with spacious circulation areas (up to modern standards)
  • Adapted signage, including colour coding
  • Bigger elevator
  • Adapted restrooms

Artists

  • Brand new pottery studio
  • Two art studios reserved for courses and amateur artists

The demographics say so

The Town’s population mix has shifted over the last 15 to 20 years and today includes a number of young families. The Town is determined to offer a broad range of quality services to this demographic group key to its future. To continue attracting and retaining young residents and serving them adequately, TMR needs to offer appealing programs. We know that quality of life ranks high on the list of criteria for deciding where to live and that the sports and recreational facilities available in a community are a direct reflection of the attention paid to residents and of the quality of life.

Irrespective of the user group, the number of programs and users is constantly growing. Requests for a sports centre with the types of spaces not currently available keep flooding in. For example, residents wish they didn’t have to spend Saturday mornings driving their kids to neighbouring municipalities so they can take part in age-appropriate activities. At the new centre, parents and children will be able to do their preferred activities at the same time, which is both practical and convenient. The centre’s proximity and potential time-savings are big pluses.

Nor should the importance of keeping our teens physically active be overlooked. Let’s give them a modern facility in which to be active, away from screens and close to home. And if they aren’t interested in swimming, they’ll find something else to do in the gym, multipurpose rooms, training room, etc.

Active retirees and other seniors will also benefit from the new facilities. We know that seniors’ participation rate in physical activities increases when they have access to appropriate facilities. Town seniors have always had a lively interest in recreational activities and programs. As their number continues to grow, we expect demand to grow too.

Lastly, several residents of all ages and occupations like to train early in the day. This is impossible in our current spaces and at the Pierre Laporte pool.

The sports and community centre project has many advantages for citizens of all ages, from young families to seniors. The general idea is to adapt as seamlessly as possible to local demographic realities. The information gathered during the many rounds of consultation, especially in 2016, allows us to do so.

A definite improvement over the current facilities

The current recreation centre (REC) is in very bad condition and regularly requires upgrades and repairs. The facilities are now 50 years old and are poorly adapted for people with reduced mobility. It would cost $4 million merely to bring the REC up to standards, and that’s without making any other improvements. At this point, it would cost more to properly renovate the facility than to rebuild it. According to the recommendation received, if the Town wants to see a genuine improvement in services, replacing the REC is its only option.

After half a century, the design of the original building is no longer suitable for the uses currently made of it. Due to the limitations of spaces clearly designed for another era, incompatible activities often have to be held side by side (e.g. noisy kids and seniors seeking peace and quiet).

The REC has been over capacity for nearly 15 years. The lack of space effectively limits the number and types of programs and activities that can be offered. Due to the popularity of these programs, the Town has become a victim of its own success, with many complaints received about the lack of places.

The situation is hardly better in the schools, where the limited availability and obsolescence of the facilities are often comparable. The condition of the Pierre Laporte pool is no longer adequate and the facility requires significant new investment. In any case, it no longer meets all the Town’s needs.

The design of the current REC means additional floors cannot be added to the structure.

An opportunity to consolidate the civic hub: the heart of Mount Royal

The original plan for Town of Mount Royal, which has always been adhered to, was urbanistic, designed for Town centre to be a natural meeting place where community facilities would be located. The current situation, which for several years has forced us to rent spaces in local churches and schools due to the lack of adequate municipal resources, runs counter to this vision.

The renewal of our sports and recreational facilities presents an opportunity to reconsolidate the Town’s community and recreational hub, to return it to how it was meant to be.

Better offer and programs, at last

The 2006 telephone survey on the Town’s recreational activities identified respondents’ main priorities for action as (1) better access to an indoor pool, (2) expansion of the library and (3) construction of a sports centre. The consultations of 2016 both confirmed and clarified these wants and needs.

The new centre will allow the Town to offer programs and activities unavailable in the past: personal training, T-Rex, CrossFit, parents and children at the same time, gym (height, surface area), appropriate spaces for aquatic activities and so on. The demand from residents is there.

Town Council regularly receives requests for an indoor pool that will give Townies access to aquatic activities year round without the many restrictions in effect at the Pierre Laporte pool.

One of the new centre’s key features, the main pool will be 25 metres long and have eight lanes and a shallow section. Contrary to the one at Pierre Laporte, ours will be useable all day long. It will also meet the standards and criteria for local, regional and even national swimming competitions. The Town will finally be able to have and train its own swimming teams and easily offer courses to residents of every age. This is all the more true because the centre will have two additional pools, including a three-lane pool specifically for instruction.

A real gymnasium

Town of Mount Royal does not currently have a facility in which indoor sports can be played year round. Residents interested in these sports either have to travel or find something else to do. This does nothing to encourage and promote physical activity, especially team sports. And we know that team sports attract many young and not so young people who are not particularly interested in individual sports.

The popularity of programs and activities and the participation rates should continue growing after the new sports and community centre opens. The new double gym will measure 34 m x 30 m.

Rooms for community activities, meetings and gatherings

The sports and community centre will expand TMR’s offer of recreational services by adding a number of spaces for a wide variety of non-sports activities. Young and old alike will take part in social activities, helping to keep them active and reduce social isolation. Located next to the kitchen, the new seniors’ lounge will be a draw in and of itself, with more room and new potential uses.

What kind of needs assessment was done when preparing the project?

Analysis of current and future programs and the corresponding needs is done on a continuous basis by Recreation Department staff. The extensive citizen consultations in the fall of 2016 and input from architects and engineers also helped refine the project. Since 2018, a users committee has played a determining role by guiding the project from a rough sketch to something far more developed and functional. Basically, while a 2013 Régis Côté study provided a framework for initial thinking, it is citizen input from 2016 to the present day that has truly shaped the project by ensuring it fully meets the community’s needs.

What about other towns and cities?

A number of towns and cities comparable to TMR already have such centres. Several in the greater Montreal area have modern sports facilities built in the last decade. What’s more, in the last five years or so, the construction of aquatic centres has exploded across Quebec.


What are the registration figure for the recreational activities? How many unique participants?

There were 7,000 registrations in the winter of 2016. The figure rose to around 13,000 for the always busier spring-summer season. That makes a total of around 20,000 registrations for the year.

The figures for 2019 are similar. With the facilities at capacity, no further growth is possible despite continued high demand.

A single resident can sign up for several activities. That said, we estimate that somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 residents register for at least one activity each year.

Are there waiting lists?

Yes, especially for swimming courses. Day camps and some art courses also have waiting lists.

Why not build only a pool?

While the needs related to aquatic activities are especially glaring, they are far from the only ones.

What are the registration figures for indoor aquatic activities like?

Around 5,000 registrations a year. Our current facilities allow no more.

What’s the rush?

The capacity of the current recreation centre has been under discussion for more than 20 years. The centre has been functioning at or over capacity for nearly 15 years now.

Residents’ expectations are legitimate. The Town should have a high-quality, fully functional sports and community centre like most every other city does. The arrangements that have allowed the Town to get by no longer meet the quality-of-life standards expected of the Town and worthy of its reputation.

Some people against the project favour starting over from scratch. Why not?

In its current form, the sports and community centre project is the product of a long process. It is based on input from several hundreds of Mount Royal residents and local sports and community associations. To the greatest possible extent, it meets the expressed needs of the community.

Scuttling or setting aside the current project would negate the progress made to date and invalidate both the investment of time and the weight of citizens’ opinion as measured and integrated into the project over the years.

And as we’ve seen in recent years, inflation in the construction industry means there’s a high price to pay for each year the project is postponed, about $1 million a year for the current project.

Does the project include elite sports facilities and equipment?

Generally speaking, elite sports are not a focus of the centre, as it targets the general population instead. That said, the centre will be up to elite standards.

Will there be a cafeteria? a canteen with healthy fare?

Yes, a healthy food counter in the form of a café-bistro.

Construction and professional services

Construction and professional services including taxes: $48.7 million  
LESS rebate on taxes that the Town won’t have to pay: ($4.2 million)
Town’s total disbursement (construction and professional services): $44.5 million

LESS Grant (reimbursement) from the MESS paid on project completion: ($3.0 million)
LESS Danyluk Park projects: ($0.2 million)
Total disbursement for the project: $41.3 million

Funding

Appropriated surplus: $21 million (i.e. $16.5 million + $4.5 million (2019))
True amount to finance: $41.3 million – $21 million = $20.3 million

Why the $27.8 million loan by-law?

The $27.8 million loan amount dates back to September 2019, at the time of the mandatory preparation of a loan by-law by the Town; once adopted as a draft by-law, the amount is not changed so easily. In September 2019, the year’s surpluses weren’t known. In addition, the provincial government requires the Town to include in the loan application the $3-million grant that will be repaid to it (gradually, over a very long-term period) once the project is completed, and not to count it as funds already available, even if the confirmation has been obtained.

Cancelling this $27.8 million loan by-law and adopting another, more modest one today would cause additional delays, which in turn would further delay the project. It is in no way desirable.

In actuality, the $27.8 million loan is equivalent to a line of credit that the Town will use as needs arise. However, we already know that a $3-million government grant must be subtracted. And as of December 2019, based on the variables known at that time, the actual amount to be funded is $20.3 million.

If the Town continues to a generate surplus in the coming years and Council decides to appropriate some or all of it for the purpose, the additional funds would be used to help pay down the debt.

Also, the Town will launch a private-sector fundraising campaign that could raise $2-3 million according to current targets. Any funds so raised will also be used to pay down the debt.

The following scenarios are calculated using an average single-family house valued at $1,381,200 and with an estimated tax bill of $8,249 in 2020. For calculation purposes, it is assumed that the sports and community centre is ready and operational as of January 1, 2020; at that date, a first payment by instalment of the $3 million grant by the provincial government has not been received.

Scenario at $23.3 million (actual financing needs of $20.3 million + $3 million grant)

Cost of the true amount to be financed, i.e. $23 300 000 (25-year loan at 4% annual interest): $155/year in taxes.

Recurring operating costs – building only ($1 million more than currently, so $1.7 million; program revenue covers program costs): $104/year in taxes.

Estimated tax bill increase for the true amount to be financed ($23,300,000), and not the entire loan ($27,800,000): $155 + $104 = $259 in total for an average single-family home.

Estimated average total tax bill: $8,249 + $259 = $8,508.

Scenario at $27.8 million (entire loan value, for comparison purposes)

Cost of the loan by-law, $27 800 000, if it were fully used (25-year loan at 4% annual interest): $185/year in taxes.

Recurring operating costs – building only ($1 million more than currently, so $1.7 million; program revenue covers program costs): $104/year in taxes.

Estimated tax bill increase for the entire loan ($27,800,000) if it were used: $185 + $104 = $289 in total for an average single-family home.

Estimated average total tax bill: $8,249 + $289 = $8,538.


By way of comparison, what are the current operating costs (REC)?

Around $700,000, versus $1.7 million with the new centre.

What is the anticipated additional revenue?

Current revenue (REC) is around $2.5 million; the Town hopes to increase that to $3 million with the new centre.

Why not use more of the surplus?

The amount of funding to be appropriated from the surplus was raised from $5.5 million in 2016, at the time of the public consultations, to $16.5 million at the end of 2018. This share continues to increase. Already, in 2019, an additional $4.5 million will be earmarked.

If the Town continues to a generate surplus in the coming years and Council decides to appropriate some or all of it for the purpose, the additional funds would be used to help pay down the debt.

In recent years, how much of the budget surplus was allocated to the sports and community centre project?

  • 2012: $6,073,596 surplus vs. $750,000 earmarked
  • 2013: $5,941,305 surplus vs. $250,000 earmarked
  • 2014: $7,525,931 surplus vs. $2,500,000 earmarked
  • 2015: $7,552,467 surplus vs. $2,000,000 earmarked
  • 2016: $7,870,446 surplus vs. $4,500,000 earmarked
  • 2017: $6,658,033 surplus vs. $2,500,000 earmarked
  • 2018: $9,183,518 surplus vs. $4,000,000 earmarked
  • 2019: The Town plans to earmark an additional $4.5 million

Why not apply for a bigger grant?

A number of grant applications were submitted to the federal and provincial governments under limited-duration programs offered over the years. In the end, a total of $3 million was obtained.

Residents will have to pay for the centre with a tax increase. Can they truly afford to?

Many Townies currently pay for expensive family memberships at private clubs, which they don’t take full advantage of and which also require them to travel. Such memberships will no longer be necessary. An affordable, accessible sports and community centre close to home will be more appealing.

Will the registration fees for recreation activities go up? Will aquatic registration fees go up?

Essentially, no: the cost of the Recreation card will remain unchanged and bar any exception, the fees for existing activities will not increase. However, new activities will be offered and the fees for those will have to be determined.

I don’t use any recreation services or facilities. Why shouldn’t the people who do pay a bigger share?

The Town’s longstanding policy is to extend access to physical fitness activities to all residents and to encourage healthy lifestyles. This is both a social choice and part of the Town’s mission.

It has been shown that to successfully – to regularly and sustainably – integrate physical activity into one’s schedule (in other words, to do what this policy encourages), access must be straightforward and not involve significant travel or wasted time. Similar conclusions can be drawn for recreational and artistic activities.

How much does the Town pay for access to the Pierre Laporte pool?

$300,000 a year for about 50 hours of access a week. In comparison, the new centre will triple the hours of access to the pools and will have more equipment.

Users committee since 2018

Ten residents active in various TMR organizations joined Town representatives to form a users committee, which has met regularly to help bring the project to maturation in the years following the 2016 consultations. The organizations that have held or hold seats include the APMR (parents’ association), MRMA (municipal association), arts and recreational programs, minor hockey, MRO soccer, fitness/aquatic/sports programs, figure skating and children’s programs.

Four consultation initiatives in 2016 (mid-October to late November)

  1. Meeting with sports, cultural and community associations – October 26, 2016
    To  better align the plans with users’ actual needs, the Town sought input from several local organizations. A total of 15 persons representing 10 organizations – namely soccer, hockey, Volunteer Centre, Parents’ Association, ArtTRAM, figure skating, swimming, Country Club, baseball and Senior Activities Committee – were involved.
  2. Focus group – November 1, 2016
    In preparation for the public consultation open to all Townies, the Town discussed the overall project with a group of 19 residents. This focus group included users of the existing recreational facilities and MRMA representatives.
  3. CROP telephone survey – beginning November 7, 2016
    CROP’s computerized call centre randomly called 500 TMR households (a scientifically valid sample for a total population of 20,000-22,000) to inquire about their impressions of various aspects of the project. Care was taken to ensure the random probability of the sample and protect the accuracy of the results, which is why no one, whether for or against the project, was required to take part. The survey results are available online.
  4. Public consultation – November 28, 2016
    All residents were invited to a Town Hall meeting where they could comment and ask questions. The councillors were able to discuss not only the overall project but also the consultation initiatives leading-up to the public consultation, including the preliminary results of the CROP survey. Around 150 people attended.

Earlier consultations

In-house survey (2013): In early 2013, the Recreation Department distributed a survey to residents. The survey could be completed on paper or on the Town website. The idea was to obtain residents’ views on the holding of shows and sports activities, the best ways to contact them, etc.

CROP (2006): Polling firm CROP conducted a major telephone survey on our recreational activities (oversized sample of 1,000 residents) in 2006. The results indicated that residents’ top priorities for action were (1) access to an indoor pool, (2) expansion of the library and (3) addition of a sports centre. In response, the Town announced in 2007 that it had signed a 10-year agreement providing access to the Pierre Laporte pool. The expanded library was inaugurated in 2013. All that now remains is to address the third priority by constructing the sports and community centre.

Construction

When will construction begin?

If the yes side wins the February 2020 referendum, the call for tenders will go out to construction firms in early March with work to start in June.

Will the centre be LEED-certified?

No. LEED certification is costly. The centre will nonetheless be built with energy efficiency and general environmental principles in mind (green roof, geothermal system, etc.).

The centre will also have separate collections for waste, recyclables and organic matter, meaning residual materials will be managed in accordance with the Town’s current standards.

How long will construction last?

Between 22 and 24 months.

Will recreational services continue to be offered during the construction phase?

The Town is aiming to maintain accessibility and minimize the impact on recreational services and activities. Leases have been signed with two local churches (Annunciation and United), which will allow us to offer all the usual activities with one exception, the pottery studio, which will be temporarily relocated to the Country Club. The registration counter and Recreation Department staff will be moved to the arena for the duration of the work.


Green space replacement

A soccer field will be lost. Are young soccer players being penalized?

Current plans have the soccer field moving to Mohawk Park.

A green space will disappear to allow this construction. How will you replace it?

The project now includes a green roof over 40% of its surface, which will avoid creating a heat island. Since 2016, the Town has been working to green the Bates/Ekers neighbourhood, including creating a park there. A platform park will also be created over the REM tracks in Town centre. Together, these projects will more than compensate for the loss of the lawn on which the sports and community centre is built.


Parking

What about parking?

Once built, the new sports and community centre will attract more visitors than the current recreation centre does. Fortunately, it will be located in Town centre, a civic hub well served by public transit and easy for residents to reach by foot or on bike.

The new centre’s size and footprint will bring it much closer to Town Hall and the outdoor fitness track than the Recreation Centre is, turning some formerly unappealing parking spaces into very attractive ones. This will especially be true for street parking on Churchill Road. Also, the many points of access on all sides of the new centre will help expand the parking opportunities.

The options for parking within a reasonable distance of the proposed centre totals 368 spaces: some new spaces will be created when reconfiguring the Town Hall and Recreation Centre parking lots. The total number of spaces within and immediately around the rectangle formed by Roosevelt, Dunkirk, Montgomery and Churchill streets breaks down as follows:

  • 83 spaces in the Town Hall parking lot
  • 24 spaces in the Recreation Centre parking lot
  • 76 spaces in the arena parking lot
  • 27 parking spaces at Annunciation church
  • 20 spots along Roosevelt
  • 5 spots on Alexander
  • 34 spots on Churchill
  • 38 spots on Dunkirk
  • 61 spots on Montgomery

Among these, some will be set up for people with reduced mobility as well as young families and pregnant women near the entrances to the centre.

The Town is not ruling out the possibility of creating additional spaces nearby should the need arise. But it also expects there to be limited overlap between the peak hours of the users of the new centre and those of Town Hall visitors and employees.

Why are there no plans for underground parking?

The ground between Town Hall and the current recreation centre is known for being muddy. Its surface can only rarely be used for soccer games, even at the best times of the year. The problem is that the site is susceptible to water infiltration. In fact, major waterproofing work has already been done on existing municipal buildings. The cost of an underground parking facility would be exorbitant under the best of circumstances; the soil problems only increase the risk of cost overruns.

In view of the many parking spaces nearby, the Town has decided to rely on them and on active transport and public transit: it is supportive of the idea that, in keeping with the principles of sustainable development, the trend in modern cities is away from an oversupply of parking.

Specific features of the new sports and community centre

New Centre

 

Ground floor

Second floor

 
  • Dance/ballet studio
  • Seniors’ lounge
  • Kitchen (seniors, Meals on Wheels, misc.)
  • Youth centre
  • Multipurpose room 1: "Let's Play Together", etc. 
  • Multipurpose room 2: Various
  • Multipurpose room 3: Aquatic training
  • Registration office
  • Double gym, 30 m x 34 m
  • Pools (3)
    • main, 25 m, 8 lanes
    • recreational with 2 slides
    • warmup/instruction, 3 lanes
  • Café-bistro
  • NPO offices
  • Meeting room 1 (NPO)
  • Instructors’ room
  • Photocopy room
  • Wet changing rooms
  • Dry changing rooms
  • Team changing rooms
 
  • Pottery studio
  • Art studio 1
  • Art studio 2
  • Jogging track, 2 lanes
  • Training room
  • Spinning room
  • Exercise room 1
  • Exercise room 2
  • Administrative offices (Town) 
  • Meeting room 2
  • Multipurpose room 4: courses, activities
  • Multipurpose room 5: courses, activities
  • Multipurpose room 6: courses, activities
  • Dry changing rooms