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Latest Jungle Jim Hunter proposal goes to committee

A proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Town of Sundre and Jungle Jim Hunter Management (JHM) has been forwarded to the town's facilities committee for review.

A proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Town of Sundre and Jungle Jim Hunter Management (JHM) has been forwarded to the town's facilities committee for review.

Hunter is proposing the construction of what he is calling a National Athletic Training Centre (NATC) for Sundre. The MOU relates to the project.

That centre would include two ice arenas under one structure, a field house with indoor track, climbing wall, team building area, fitness training area, and a teaching facility with state-of-the art video and computer technology, Hunter told councillors last month.

The estimated first stage capital costs of the project would be $6.5 million for the first 1,000 seat arena, $4 million for the field house, $500,000 for cleaning equipment such as the Zamboni ice resurfacer, $900,000 for fitness equipment, $700,000 for office, meeting rooms and furnishings, he said.

The second stage would be $5 million to $6 million for the second arena.

The proposed memorandum of understanding for the project, which Hunter told councillors would need to be signed before the project moves forward, states, in part: “The parties agree to a strategic alliance aimed at providing enhanced sports and recreation opportunities for Sundre and the community at large, through collaborative facility development and operation.”

Key roles and activities outlined in the MOU include that the “town will provide serviced land for the NATC; the town and JHM will jointly develop a master plan for the NATC and related commercial facilities; the town and JHM will jointly manage development (design, engineer, construct), of the NATC.”

It also states that the town will “commit to leasing or renting back from JHM time in the NATC for town and community programs, at rates, amounts and times to be negotiated” and that the “primary business case assumes the town retains ownership of the land and JHM owns the sports and recreation facilities.

“Ownership will be structured to optimize private financing, while balancing eligibility for significant financial support programs from federal and provincial governments. The interests of the non-owning party for both land and buildings will be protected through long-term lease and other legally binding agreements.”

During last week's council meeting, councillors passed a motion to forward the MOU to the committee with instructions to report back to council.

“I think we have to take a serious look at what he is proposing,” Mayor Annette Clews said during the council meeting. “What direction should the town be taking?”

Also during last week's council meeting, councillor Patricia Toone asked about the status of a terms sheet that had been prepared by the town and JHM regarding Hunter's early proposal for a multi-use Sundre facility called the Sports, Health and Wellness Institute (SHWI).

That terms sheet outlines what the town was prepared to contribute to the SHWI project.

The Town of Sundre spent more than $20,000 on legal and meeting fees preparing the document, which has not been made public and has not been signed.

As well as looking at the MOU, the facilities committee will also be looking at the status of that terms sheet, said Mayor Clews following last week's council meeting.

The facilities committee, currently made up of town councillors, will also be reviewing two proposals recently made to council for the construction of a new stand-alone arena for town.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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