Council puts arena site studies on ice
Geo-technical probing at potential locations delayed until at least sept. 5
Coun. daryl Vaillancourt led the charge during the council meeting tuesday to delay geo-technical studies on potential sites for a West Ferris arena replacement.
Vaillancourt said he wanted to hold off on test drilling, specifically at the sam Jacks recreational Complex area, until staff can present a background report to council sept. 5.
“the community is watching this very, very closely … we need to shepherd this through the politics,” he said, noting it’s probably the last big project for this council before the municipal election in october 2018.
the cost of the preliminary work was set at $60,000 and included looking at land behind Memorial gardens (thomson Park) and the steve omischl sports Fields Complex.
Council has been told the arena in West Ferris, with its wood trusssupport barrel roof, is reaching its end of life and should be replaced by the fall of 2019.
But Coun. Mark King, chairman of community services, said all Vaillancourt really achieved was losing a month of valuable time, noting any building this size is at least 18 months to complete.
and King said the work needs to be done so people will know what they’re considering, as far as the extent of site preparation and the associated costs.
King said most of the discussion so far has centred on adding a pad or twin pads in thomson Park or at omischl, with the West Ferris option only recently mentioned in the staff report given to councillors prior to the meeting.
“unfortunately, we lost 30 days,” he said after the meeting, noting “shepherding” the politics isn’t the issue, getting hard data is the priority.
King said he knows the thomson Park area well after growing up near there, saying it will likely present challenges because it’s mostly filled-in swamp.
at omischl, on the other hand, there’s bedrock right beside the relatively new complex with three ball fields, a natural turf field and two artificial turf fields.
as for the sam Jacks complex in West Ferris, he said there’s potential there along with logistical problems with the existing buildings and limits of property size.
Vaillancourt, after the meeting, said residents of West Ferris are “sensitive” about their community centre, whether it’s something leaving or coming in.
timing is good for the staff report about the community’s need for ice pads and issues already understood.
Coun. sheldon Forgette, deputy mayor and budget chief, has called for a special meeting of council sept. 7 to set out the timing and targets for 2018 budget deliberations.
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