Twin-pad arena debated
Too costly, not enough research, wrong site say council hopefuls

by by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 08/97) - The biggest initiative the city has ever proposed -- a $10.5 million twin pad arena -- came under fire from aldermanic hopefuls at a forum held last night at NACC.

"One hundred per cent of the kids I've talked to don't think the money should be invested in a new arena," said Cheryl Best, discussing recreational opportunities for low income families.

Best said youngsters told her they want facilities, such as drop in centres, that accommodate less structured pursuits.

John Murray agreed, saying youth he talked to were more interested in skateboarding, rollerblading and biking.

He added that city administration informed him $1 million has already been spent planning the facility, though they have yet to get the land for it.

"A lot of questions need to be raised about the multi-purpose community centre," said Kevin O'Reilly. A needs study should be conducted and closer attention paid to the affordability of such a project.

Unqualified support for the project came from Bob Brooks.

"The need has been identified twice," said Brooks. "We do have the ability to pay for it and the cost should not and will not result in an increase in taxes."

Audience member Garth Wallbridge pressured for an answer to the question, "Do you support a twin-pad arena in this town or not?"

"I support a twin-pad arena, I support a bridge over the Mackenzie, I support many things, but the question is what can we afford?" responded Bob Findlay.

He added that the main proponent of the project said all of the components of the facility other than the arenas should be considered "non-essential."

Ben McDonald and Robert Slaven gave qualified support, saying more information was needed. Larry Adams went the opposite route, saying he did not support it based on the amount of study behind it.

Cam Kos said he supported new arenas but "definitely not on Twin Pine Hill."

Nine aldermanic hopefuls attended the first of three forums sponsored by the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce. The second goes tonight at 7:30 at NACC with the remaining nine aldermanic candidates and the mayoral candidates' forum is scheduled to go ahead Oct. 15.