A committee of council is recommending that the city hire a consultant to do architectural and engineering studies on both potential sites for a new municipal arena.

The two sites are Memorial Gardens and adjacent from the Omischl Sports Complex.

If approved at a cost of an estimated $250,000 a decision on where to build the facility wouldn’t come before council until the fall.

The director of Community Development and Growth Ian Kilgour (pictured) says they will learn important information on the site that doesn’t get chosen too.

“There’s going to be development pressure at both sites in the future. It might be the distant future but this information we’re going to glean will not go stale. It will still be useful for years down the road,” he says.

Kilgour says council needs to have the latest details.

“This is a big decision. It’s one of the biggest decisions any council makes and maybe the biggest decision this council makes and that’s why we want to provide all the information,” he says.

By detailing an example the chair of Community Services Councillor Johanne Brousseau says it’s important to know the costs for each site before council decides.

“If you tell me that Omischl can be built at a cost of $20 million and the other $30 million we have to look at that whether we can find the revenues and we’ll need to walk away from one. We have to do this through common sense and not political will,” Brousseau says.

City Councillor Dave Mendicino says he needs to see a full costing.

“We haven’t seen a full costing of the gardens site or the Omischl site. I’d like to see that before we make an important decision to spend $30 million,” Mendicino says.

City Councillor Mark King says there’s no point in hiring a consultant when we already know the answer that the Memorial Gardens site will be more expensive.

“They will not be close. There’s no way that Chippewa Street can support the traffic. That issue from a traffic and parking standpoint is severe,” King says.

Meantime, an updated study by a consultant reveals North Bay has a need of 4.8 ice pads this year which would mean North Bay would need two pads due to the long term viability of the West Ferris Arena.


Photo by station staff

Filed under: arena, Dave Mendicino, Ian Kilgour, Joanne Brousseau, Mark King