I was interested to learn that the municipality is securing Green Infrastructure funds for the renovation of the old Millbrook Arena.
As much as I applaud the township for not simply off-loading the building to the private sector, I do wonder why we need yet another “multipurpose community hub”, most probably a sports complex to be used by a relatively small proportion of the municipality’s residents. I also wonder why I and dozens of other citizens, in conjunction with the BIA, gave up hours of our time a few years ago to develop a growth plan for the downtown that earmarked that area, once the arena had moved, to be a green space in the centre of our village.
In the Downtown Millbrook Revitalization Strategy, it says: “It is understood that sometime in the future the arena will need to be replaced and relocated, and when this happens, there will be an opportunity to repurpose the site. From the public consultation process there was a clear desire to develop a large common green space on the arena site.”
The entire report, along with concept plans for how that area would look and its proposed uses (including a small stage) can be seen here on the municipality’s website at:
The pandemic has underscored more than ever how valuable these green spaces are. Imagine all of that area below the dam as a treed, green village common area, with the creek passing through it. Think about how it would change the mill (rescued due to a great deal of hard work by citizens in this municipality) from being an isolated building on the edge of a parking lot to the centre piece of that newly established commons.
The hard work and visioning has already been done. The Township has already received confirmation for a Funding Green Infrastructure Projects Grant to renovate the interior of the old Millbrook arena. Given that the fund is for Green Infrastructure Projects, perhaps the funding already confirmed could be re-purposed to this venture?
I know that this may not be everyone’s vision as to the best use of this area but perhaps we should at least honour the visioning already done by the community and initiate a public discussion as to how Cavan-Monaghan might best utilize that space.
By Bill Slavin