Arena moving forward
Committee says build on liquor warehouse site

Cost breakdown
Arena (not including site preparation costs) $8,217,200*
Youth Centre 100,000
Play centre 100,000
Gymnastics 70,000
Total 8,487,200
Borrowing request: $2,770,000

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 18/98) - The city should build the new twin-pad arena where the Territorial government's liquor warehouse now stands, says a city council committee.

At its Monday meeting the community services committee also recommended council ask ratepayers for permission to borrow $2.77 million for the arena and other components of the project.

"I get very upset when I hear about all the doom and gloom," said Chris Bergman of concerns about the cost of the project. Bergman said ratepayers should not exaggerate the impact of the arena on their tax bills.

"I'm sure that on a Friday night many of us don't have a problem taking a couple of hundred dollars out of our pocket to spend on imbibing," he said.

Others, including Giant Mine worker Mark Eveson, disagreed.

"I'm very concerned about my job," said Eveson. He told the committee a recent appraisal of his home revealed it had dropped substantially in value.

"I expect a decrease in taxes as the value of my house decreases," said Eveson. "This city is shrinking and I think you people should take that into consideration."

The 3 p.m. meeting was held in council chambers to accommodate the number of people who attended. In all the committee heard 15 presentations, most focusing on the two rinks, which account for 97 per cent of the cost of the project.

The committee was poised to make decisions on the arena two weeks ago, but stalled after a presentation from Bellanca Developments, which offered to build the arena for the city.

The word Bellanca was not uttered at Monday's meeting.

"It was made quite plain that the only way we would get that site was if we built an arena on it," said Mayor Lovell. He was recalling a meeting, held late last week, between Bellanca, city and GNWT representatives. The purpose of the meeting was to clarify the territorial government's position on the liquor warehouse site.

The government has agreed to give the site, located on Old Airport Road across from McDonald's, to the city for $1.

He added that building on anything but bedrock was "a risk we just cannot take." The Bellanca proposal would have required a "thermosyphon" system to stabilize permafrost under the building.