Brompton to benefit from community centre changes

Photo: Gordon Lambie
By: 
Gordon Lambie
Staff Writer

The borough of Brompton will be getting its community centre, but not in the way planned and announced to Sherbrooke’s city council last year. Instead of engaging in a $2.7 million plan to renovate the current borough office to include a community centre on its second floor, the city will now renovate the offices and work to build a community centre facility into the Ecole Secondaire de Bromptonville (ESB) private school. The combined cost of these two renovations is estimated at $1 million dollars less than the original proposal while actually making more room available for the various needs of the community in Brompton.

“It’s a win-win scenario,” said Brompton Borough President Nicole Bergeron at Thursday’s announcement. “It has been a long road to get to this point.”

Bergeron said that the community in the borough has dreamt of a community centre since 1989 and said that the plan that was in place up until earlier this summer to build one into the existing borough office was a less-than idea compromise. Though it did accomplish the task of giving the people and organizations of Brompton a gathering point, the plan to build the community centre into the existing borough office building made things too cramped to fully serve the needs on the table.

The otherwise bad news of the closing of the ESB’s boarding school combined with the denial of a vital government grant then opened the door to what Bergeron called a major but very interesting change.

“We saw an excellent opportunity,” the Borough President said.

The newly revised Brompton community center project will consist of renovations to about 6,000 square feet within the school at a cost of $700,000. The exact needs and layout of the plan have yet to be determined but the spaces will be used for activities of community organizations in the borough. Like in the case of the community center in the Jacques Cartier borough, which is an extension onto the Montcalm School on Portland Boulevard, the City of Sherbrooke will arrange a long-term lease and cost sharing agreement with the ESB with regard to the facilities. Though those details have yet to be worked out, the city’s Associate Executive Director of community relations, Marie-France Delage, said that the costs will still be lower than the ongoing maintenance costs of the original community centre plan were expected to be. In the meantime the current Borough Office on Laval Street will be renovated for cost of $1 million, with the creation of a local youth centre integrated into the work. The first floor of the building will be modified to serve as the municipal offices, leaving the upstairs as a rentable space once the borough is merged with that of Rock Forest in 2017.Delage said that the renovations save money through the movement of offices to the main floor as it eliminates the need to install accessibility features like elevators.

“This is a project with which responds better to the needs of our community than the original proposition as well as the future needs of community organizations,” Bergeron said underlining that the project should be completed within a very similar timeline to the original predictions.

Delage clarified that the city is hoping to have the current office renovated for August of 2016 and the community center done by December of 2016.

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