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New build unlikely at current West Ferris Arena site

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City officials will strike a committee to tackle the question of where to put a replacement arena or arenas as West Ferris Arena is phased out of use by 2019.

It was being recommended that at tonight’s committee meeting, Council authorize staff to investigate options for sites for a new build, with Memorial Gardens/Thomson Fields and the Omischl Sports Complex named in the report. Also recommended is the initiation of preliminary geotechnical assessments, to a maximum of $60,000. Both measures were passed unanimously by Council.

A new build at the current West Ferris Arena site has not been completely dismissed but seems to have less appeal to staff than the Memorial Gardens/Thomson Fields or Omishcl locations. Councillor Tanya Vrebosch spoke in favour of keeping a new arena build in the south end of the city.

The wording of the recommendation allows for any new sites that emerge to be considered. Managing Director of Community Services, John Severino stressed that going ahead with the geotechnical studies in a timely manner was important to the process. Staff has indicated that the desired completion date for a new arena would be September 2019.

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Under the staff recommendation, a committee including the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Community Services Committee, plus a member of General Government and a member from Engineering, Environmental Services and Works Committees will lead a public consultation process. The CAO, CFO, and Managing Director of Community Services will also be included as part of the ad hoc arena committee, and the Mayor will be an Ex-Officio Member.

The committee will report its findings to Council by October 31.

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