By Letter to the Editor on June 8, 2017.
Re: “Councillor says empty, standing Arena was greatest fear when Canalta Centre was going up,” May 19
As chairman of the citizen-based Save the Arena Committee, it was with amusement that Coun. Robert Dumanowski’s words. The council has had more than years to deal with their “greatest fear.” Subsequent to the article, I have been contacted by numerous local residents.
Our first committee meeting was held Dec. 16, 2016, and we have held an additional eight meetings in an attempt to draft a proposal for the city. City staff had talked about seeking something called an “expression of interest” (EOI) sometime in early 2017. We are now told that the decision has been made to close The Arena, evict any user groups and mothball the facility, before any further discussion and before the EOI process took place.
Committee members have met with the mayor to express our interest, independently committee members have met with city staff and as yet, not one councillor has taken an interest in our cause. We are talking about one of the major facilities in the city. Just how out of touch are these so-called “community leaders”?
After canvassing the user groups, it appears that more than 4,000 city residents use The Arena on a regular basis, either as participants or supporters. This does not include Tigers hockey games, but various levels of minor hockey, 12-14 hockey tournaments, figure skating, senior hockey, public skating, hockey clinics and such.
The Arena is a facility operated by the city, but owned by the citizens of this city. You would think that those citizens should have some significant input on its status. After all, they are ultimately paying the associated operating costs. The arrogance of both the councillors and staff is overwhelming. The mayor did provide some welcomed guidance.
There is a civic election coming up this fall, maybe it is time for a change at City Hall or maybe, just mothball City Hall and wait for the “expression of interest.”
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