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Tear it down?

Tear it down, or build it back up? Which is the cheaper option? Those are the questions now hovering over the Fort William Gardens and they’re questions CEI Architecture is looking to answer over the next several months as it prepares a report
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The future of the Fort William Gardens will be part of a report next spring. (Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com)

Tear it down, or build it back up? Which is the cheaper option?

Those are the questions now hovering over the Fort William Gardens and they’re questions CEI Architecture is looking to answer over the next several months as it prepares a report on the future use of the 62-year-old facility.

The $130,000 study is part of the third phase of the events centre feasibility study.

"It's a pretty important piece in terms of the events centre project," CEI's Conrad Boychuck said.

The study, which will include several public open houses, will look at everything from demolition to changing the type of events held at the Gardens. Boychuck said that could include anything from basketball to a farmer's market.

Taking out some of the seating could open the space up to 40,000 square feet. He believes the community could use that space.

"I don't think a lot of people understand or appreciate just how big the floor area is," he said.

"There's a lot more life in this building and we need to know what that might look like."

Facilities, fleet and transit general manager Michael Smith said the gardens cost the city around $600,000 a year and needs around $1 million on top of that over the next three years. There's also the question of what would be done with the Fort William Curling Club.

Smith said the report, which will come to city council in early March, will have the answers and recommendations.