It was a long arduous battle to get to this day (Thursday) and to a deal-signing ceremony in Centre Hastings council chambers.
Neighbours Madoc Township and Centre Hastings had been head-butting each other over who should pay how much to operate the arena in Madoc, formally known as the Madoc and District Recreation Centre.
Centre Hastings has long maintained that as compared to agreements made long ago, Madoc Township hadn’t been paying its fair share in recent years.
Township council didn’t much want to change things, and soon Centre Hastings council decided to take their neighbours to the north to court on the issue.
Today, with serious and expensive litigation for both sides on the horizon, politicians and staff with Centre Hastings and Madoc Township were all smiles and breathing sighs of relief.
Township Reeve Bob Sager and Centre Hastings Mayor Tom Deline signed off on a 5-year contract covering cost sharing, both operating and capital, for the running of the arena.
The contract will mean an over 50% jump in operating cost payments from the Township.
The Township will now pay $67,500 dollars for operations per year, adjusted annually by the cost of living. Last year, Madoc Township paid around $40,000.
Under the contract, Madoc Township will pay $18,000 a year for capital investments, adjusted annually by the cost of living.
Centre Hastings will continue to own the building, and will pay the rest of the costs, those being higher than the Township’s share due to more population.
Centre Hastings Mayor Tom Deline congratulated everyone involved, calling Reeve Sager a “gentleman” throughout some difficult days.
The Mayor said the Township and Centre Hastings “need each other, we cannot stand alone on some of these projects. Neither side thinks this deal is perfect, and that means this is a good deal. Let’s keep working together as good neighbours should.”
Madoc Township Reeve Bob Sager joined the Mayor in congratulating each municipality’s staff and particularly councillors Loyde Blackburn and Carrie Smith from the Township and Eric Sandford and Bob Hadley from Centre Hastings. He also thanked the Township’s Clerk/Treasurer Cassandra Boniface for bringing her knowledge of cost sharing and arenas from her previous time working in Stirling-Rawdon.
Reeve Sager said no one needed a lawsuit and said many residents will be happy that the communities are working together again on such an important facility as the local arena.
A good laugh was had when Centre Hastings CAO Christine Martin was ordered out of council chambers and onto a phone to call the lawyer to stop the lawsuit from proceeding before the ink was even dry on the contract.