In about six months North Bay city council will know what it will cost to build a twin-pad ice arena adjacent to the Memorial Gardens at Thomson Park or at the Steve Omischl Sports Field Complex.

Council’s committee of the whole is recommending a staff report to council that both sites be studied.

Ian Kilgour, the city’s Director of Community Development and Growth, told council staff has no preference.

However, staff want to give elected officials as much information as possible so they can make an informed decision.

But Kilgour told council the assumption is building the double pad arena by the Gardens will cost more.

Kilgour added at this time, how much more is unknown.

Following the meeting, Kilgour told local media Omischl is the easier of the two sites to build upon.

“It’s like building a new house on a green field as opposed to the Gardens which is more like a renovation and you’d be working around existing, operating facilities,” Kilgour said.

Councillor Mark King told his colleagues the main reason building at the Gardens would be more expensive is because three metres of fill would have to first be removed because of the existing soil conditions at Thomson Park.

King said on top of that, there are traffic issues to deal with on Chippewa plus parking.

He felt it was a no brainer and that the logical choice was to simply build at Omischl.

However, councillor Dave Mendicino said there are five new councillors sitting at the table and he believed there wasn’t enough current information available to make an informed decision.

Mendicino added if the study shows it will be more expensive to build by the Gardens and some councillors believe that’s where the arena should go, would there be a way to justify the additional cost.

Kilgour says studying both sites will tack an additional $250,000 to the study.

But he says regardless of which site council eventually chooses, the information collected by the study on both sites will prove useful to council in the future because it will detail what kind of work could take place at the unchosen location.

Kilgour also says the timing to pursue a new arena is excellent because the federal and provincial governments are out with a $30-billion nation-wide infrastructure program.

Kilgour says the city is hearing the province will be asking for requests for recreational projects this summer for its approval.

He says joint funding from senior levels of government for recreation projects only come around every decade.

Assuming council votes to pursue the study, Kilgour says that makes the arena project “application ready”.

He adds if the Ford government approves the arena, then the feds and province would cover two-thirds of the cost of the multi-million dollar project leaving North Bay taxpayers to pay for the remaining one-third.