New arena panned
Ratepayers' Association president Matthew Grogono says it makes far more sense to renovate Gerry Murphy Arena

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 08/98) - The president of a city ratepayers association says now is not the time to spend $9 million on a twin-pad arena.

"I don't think it's a good idea at this time," said Matthew Grogono, president of the Yellowknife Property Owners Association.

In a brochure released last week, the city said the project would not result in a tax increase as long as the city experiences a 1.2 per cent increase in its tax base over the next two years.

Grogono said that was optimistic.

"There's no way of knowing which way (the tax base) is going," he said, citing reports of a nine per cent residential vacancy rate.

Grogono said it makes far more sense to renovate Gerry Murphy Arena. He pointed to an 1989 engineering study commissioned by the city which stated the arena would be good for another 20 to 25 years if renovated.

The same study estimates a newly built arena would have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years, rather than the "more than 50 years" the city's brochure states.

Grogono said Gerry Murphy is one of the oldest buildings in the city and a "valuable link to the Old Yellowknife," that deserves to be preserved. The city plans to demolish it if a new twin-pad arena is built.

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