Open letter to mayor and council,
By now, the entire city knows about the vote for a $5.3 million lawn bowling clubhouse, and the reaction has been significantly negative.
There is a way to turn this into a winning situation for Richmond and its residents, and that is to add floors to the new building to accommodate some of the non-profit organizations that need operating space.
Richmond’s Non-Profit Space Needs Review revealed that local non-profits (NPOs) will need 36,700 square feet of dedicated space in the short term, including multi-purpose activity rooms, workshop/training rooms, offices and meeting spaces.
Co-location of agencies in community service hubs is a positive solution.
The new lawn bowling clubhouse will have 4,900 sq. ft. of space including a 2,500 sq. ft. multi-purpose room.
That aside, what would happen if more floors were added to this single-storey building? At least one member of council is on record as opposing this idea because of intrusion into the park.
However, the current clubhouse is mere metres from a newly built 15-story high-rise that looms over the park.
A few more floors on a new clubhouse would help to soften the transition from this imposing building into the park space, as illustrated in the attached photo.
If two new storeys for NPOs were added, that would be 9,800 square feet of space, or just over a quarter of the 36,700 square feet that are required in the short term.
Like most taxpayers, I don’t see the value in building a new lawn bowling clubhouse for over $5 million.
But if we must, then let’s maximize the community value of this expenditure.