October 19th, 2017

A pox on ‘over engineering’: Arena could have been expanded to 6,500 seats


By Letter to the Editor on December 14, 2016.

Coun. Robert Dumanowski’s comments that The Arena could not be added onto ring very hollow.

The main reason the plan that was chosen for The Arena was because the seating could easily be increased at a later date if additional seating became necessary. I distinctly remember the local architect, Mr. Russell, who presented his design to council saying that of the short list of design plans presented to council, the big advantage of his plan was that additional seating could easily be added to bring the seating to 6,500.

When the excuse that The Arena seating could not be increased was used to justify the Canalta Centre, I checked with city officials to see what Mr. Russell’s blueprints actually showed. I was told the city had no blueprints for The Arena. Much later, they admitted they have two copies of those prints. I was not allowed to see them.

There is a term used known as “over engineering.” That is used to make an exaggerated cost estimate for something that you don’t want to be done — too expensive. I believe the numbers foisted on the public as to the cost of keeping The Arena operating is “over engineering.” Around $5 million was spent just a few years ago to bring The Arena up to speed after the last flood. Special systems were installed to treat the water used for making the ice so that The Arena ice is the best ice I have ever skated on. All new seats were added previously. An example of “over engineering.”

A few years ago, the local Active and Alternative Transportation Committee received $30,000 from the provincial government that the committee decided to give to the City of Medicine Hat to be used to purchase and install bike racks in the downtown core, etc. The city used every stupid excuse in the book to make sure that didn’t happen. They insisted only the city was capable of installing the racks. Then they said the installation cost was $900 per rack. That is “over engineering.” (My wife and I installed a rack in 10 minutes for $8). When you don’t want something done, falsify the cost so high as to scare everybody and get it turned down.

You haven’t heard the best yet. I’ve been told that demolition cost for The Arena could be as high as $5 million. I guess the city is keeping that a secret for now.

If a tornado hits Medicine Hat (heaven forbid) The Arena will still be standing and the Canalta Centre will be blown to kingdom come.

I’m heading for The Arena; it’s built like a fort!

John MacLaren

Medicine Hat

One Response to “A pox on ‘over engineering’: Arena could have been expanded to 6,500 seats”

  1. Maurice Shabatsky says:

    Absolutely correct John. The arena was built to be easily expanded.
    The construction of the Can-Knucklehead Centre has got to be one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the city.
    Of course the apathetic citizens of Medicine Hat did nothing about it while the Box Springs group laughed all the way to the bank.
    There should be an investigation into the money trail that led to this farce.


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