Civic Centre Survey Results

2017-05-24

Last month, I sent out a survey to find out what you wanted in a potential new civic centre. The feedback was very encouraging. Please visit our web site, www.hampstead.qc.ca, for a much longer version of this summary.

In short, there was overwhelming support for at least a majority of the possible items that were suggested on the survey. Even households with no children under 20 and no plans to start a family were more positive than negative by a margin of 3 to 1. For households with children support was even greater.

For those not in favour, there was one main concern. They were worried about tax increases. Allow me to reiterate; as long as I am Mayor, there will be no local tax increases above inflation, as has been the case for the past decade. That means that we will not proceed without substantial grants from the Federal and Quebec governments. Westmount got such grants for their underground hockey arena and Cote Saint-Luc got them for their Aquatic Centre. Currently, there are no applicable grants but we are expecting some to be announced in the coming months.

More and more young families are moving to Hampstead and that is why council wants to provide better facilities for them. However, there are also benefits for households with no kids. The more attractive Hampstead is for the younger demographic, the higher house prices will be driven up and that benefits those planning to sell. In addition, a new civic centre will have facilities requested by the older demographic.

What were the most popular items?

A fitness room was number one followed closely by a gym. The party room and café came next followed by a game room. The latter was the second most popular item for those without kids. Since it is inexpensive, it will be included. The only item with more people against it was the golf simulator so that will not be included.

There were numerous suggestions for items not on the survey. An indoor pool, a library and a hockey arena were the big ticket items. The pool would lose much too much annually. The same is true for a full library but an honour system mini library (take a book, leave a book) would be a nice feature. As for a hockey arena, several large donors have committed very substantial sums to build one and there may be ways to keep operating costs down. We will be studying this option very carefully. As I write this, no decision has been made.

There were many other suggestions which are mentioned in my report on the Hampstead web site.

Next steps.

We need to be ready for when a grant becomes available so we will be doing more research on what works in other towns. Potential plans and probable costs will be developed, both for building a new recreation centre and for operating it. There is a lot of work to be done but once a grant and the rules are announced, we hope to be in a position to apply quickly.

The first major decision will be exactly what to include in the new recreation centre. I doubt that we will be in a position to make that decision before summer. However, once we decide, I will share our reasoning and decision. This is a very important project for the town and I will continue to communicate with you every step of the way. 

If you have any comments or questions on this topic or anything related to Hampstead, please e-mail me at wsteinberg@hampstead.qc.ca or call me 7 days a week until midnight at my home office (514) 483-6954.


Sincerely,


Dr. Bill Steinberg
Mayor, Town of Hampstead