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Woolwich will spend $86K to upgrade to LED lighting in McLeod arena at the WMC

Hoping to cut its ever-mounting electricity bills, the township will spend $86,000 next year to upgrade the lighting in the McLeod arena at the Woolwich MemorialCentre.

The township hopes to repeat the benefits seen in this year’s conversion to LED lights in the centre’s other arena. That project, done at a cost of $65,000, came with a $12,000 energy grant and projected annual hydro savings of $16,000, providing a five-year payback on the investment.

Councillors meeting Tuesday night gave staff pre-budget approval to get the process underway. Wagler Electric, which did the work in the Dan Snyder arena, is to replace the 84 existing metal-halide lights with 86 LED fixtures.

A report from Hoping to director of recreation and facilities Ann McArthur suggests the township can expect a grant of $5,000 to $12,000 from the provincial Save onEnergy program.

 “The final incentive amount will be determined by Waterloo North Hydro after the analysis is completed to illustrate the anticipated energy savings.”

The conversion to LED fixtures is the latest round of lighting upgrades to a facility that has been plagued with deficiencies and escalating operating costs since it opening in 2009. The list of issues includes costly repairs, soaring utility bills and runaway staffing costs.

Some of the issues have been dealt with in the intervening years, but upgrades and energy retrofits, along with failing equipment, are still a daily part of operating the facility. Repairs and maintenance costs along went $70,000 over budget last year, for instance – $109,000 instead of the $39,000 budgeted.

Insetting the 2018 budget, the township earmarked $2.48 million to operate the facility, expecting revenue of $1.42 million, for a shortfall of just over $1million.

Upgrades and retrofits to the building are ongoing, with much of the lighting, for instance, being replaced almost from the get-go given the electricity costs. Like wise, heating and cooling have been issues from the start.

This week’s decision lets staff get started on a Save on Energy grant to help with the costs.

Responding a question from Coun. Larry Shantz, director of finance Richard Petherick noted councillors will still be reviewing the numbers as part of the upcoming 2019budget process.

“Everything will be paid for from the 2019 budget,” he said, noting the money would come from a reserve fund created to house the gasoline-tax revenue shared with the township.

The work is likely to get done in June or July, after the ice is removed from the rink, said McArthur.

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