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Aging North Bay arena still under scrutiny

“We wanted a substantial engineering report which was all-encompassing as far as the building was concerned so that we had a full understanding of everything, right from the footings and the foundation, right up to the walls and the roof itself.”
westferrisarena
Midget AAA action in December of 2015 at West Ferris arena. Photo by Chris Dawson.

Mark King admits that West Ferris Arena has become a very stressful topic these days.  

Last winter a preliminary Engineering report in December indicated a portion of the roof could not withstand more than 150 millimetres of snow, or the rink would have to be shut down.  

“We went through the process last winter and I lost a lot of sleep over it because I was very concerned about the building and where we were going to go because of the initial engineering report if we had more than six inches of snow we had an issue,” said Councillor King, who is the Chair of Community Services.   

Now City Council is waiting to get its hands on another more comprehensive report, which will give them a road map of what direction the city needs to go with the aging facility that opened back in 1960. 

“We wanted a substantial engineering report which was all-encompassing as far as the building was concerned so that we had a full understanding of everything, right from the footings and the foundation, right up to the walls and the roof itself,” stated King.  

But the longevity of West Ferris arena is definitely a concern for Council and City Staff. 

With Canadore College still looking at building a P3 modelled facility, will the timing be right to potentially close West Ferris and open a new facility?   

That’s the challenge.  

“We are going through this user process right now which we had the first meeting last week dealing with ice rental costs and how these things will kind of all shape out so all of these things are kind of coming together,” King explained.  

“We have the other issue of the College and University and how that might fit into the puzzle so it’s going to take some time to figure it out and try to get the best possible outcome really in my mind is most important.”

King says regardless, no decision will be made without public input.  

“We expect the report will give council some very specific direction about where the city has to go and at that point I see public involvement in it, I don’t see this being some rubber stamp that council places on it,” said King.