Wind and rain didn’t stop the public from giving their input on a potential mulitplex arena.
About 170 people turned out to the Italian Cultural Centre Thursday night to hear about the plan so far and voice their opinion. Martin Nantel said he came to the meeting because he was curious about the proposal.
While he thinks the city might need a new meeting place, the notion of giant, mutli-purpose arenas are outdated. If the city does go ahead though, Nantel said it needs to be careful so the building fits with the sustainable Thunder Bay plan.
As for location, Nantel said the waterfront would be a bad idea. Arenas by their very nature are inward looking facilities Nantel said. The waterfront should be used for outward looking uses. Nantel said he didn’t have a specific location in mind because an arena could go anywhere and still be used.
"I could probably see no problem putting this facility on the worst site in town and people would still go there," Nantel said.
George Carter recently moved to Thunder Bay after living in Vancouver for 35 years. He said he’s a big supporter of a new multiplex arena in the city. With the potential for national championships, concerts and conventions, a new facility could usher in a new era for Thunder Bay.
"It would move Thunder Bay into the big city era," Carter said.
Carter said he hoped the arena would be located near the Thunder Bay Expressway so it would be easily accessible for people around the region.
The public was asked to select their top two locations for the site using pins. The two most popular sites were between the Harbour Expressway and Oliver Road west of Golf Links Road and land south of Marina Park.
During the 45 minute presentation by city manager Tim Commisso and community services manager Greg Alexander, the public were shown slides comparing 11 arenas built over the past 20 years by cities with comparable populations to Thunder Bay. A history of the Fort William Gardens was also presented by Alexander.