Municipality wants resident feedback on new arena

The Sarnia Sting during their practice at Chatham Memorial Arena. November 29, 2016. (Photo by Natalia Vega)

Chatham-Kent residents could be asked to weigh in on the possibility of building a new twin pad arena in the area.

Municipal staff are recommending that public input sessions be scheduled in 2019 to help council make a decision on whether they want to invest taxpayer dollars in a brand new facility.

The idea of a new arena originated in 2015. An OHL sized arena was proposed but plans were quickly scrapped due to high costs.

A motion was approved in May 2018 for council to move forward in building a smaller, twin-pad arena in the community of Chatham to replace Memorial Arena and William K. Erickson Arena.

Since the motion passed, officials say they have received a large amount of feedback regarding the project from residents. Comments have ranged from strong support of a twin-pad arena to strong opposition from those who are asking for the municipality to find alternative solutions and minimize the cost.

Officials are now hoping holding the public engagement meetings will help get more insight on the matter. Meetings will give the public a chance to review the arena size, design, cost, funding, location, and give the chance for residents to give their alternative solutions.

The first meeting would take place in February 2019 and would consist of a review of the facility options including “footprint, seating capacity, design, costs, funding, ideal location and consideration for alternative solutions.” The second meeting would take place in April 2019, recapping the results of the first meeting and providing additional information.

All of that information would then be compiled in a comprehensive report to Chatham-Kent council with staff expecting to present that in June 2019.