To the editor:
I’m wondering about the stances of the mayoral and city councillor candidates on moving ahead with the twin pad rink at the Omischl complex.
Even though I agree that our rinks need to be replaced, I feel this project, as it is currently conceived, needs to be re-scrutinized during the election to build public confidence before proceeding.
Is it true that similar builds of hockey infrastructure in other communities are less costly?
I’ve heard some figures that would suggest this hockey-focused project is double the price of what is being built in Sault Sainte Marie. If this is true, why would we go ahead with this twin-pad rink? Sunk costs and rectifying the dressing room situation at Omischl have been presented as rationales to proceed. I’m wondering if those should supersede the need for efficient use of municipal taxpayer money, especially if the end result is a hockey-only facility.
How does this project compare to what other communities are building?
Similar new “community centre” builds that I have been to in my travels on the youth sports circuit also include non-hockey amenities for court, racket, and other sports. As we learned during the pandemic, our municipality currently has almost zero indoor infrastructure for those. For what we are prepared to pay, can we get a facility that addresses more than just our hockey rink problem?
Finally, other than rectifying the dressing room situation at Omischl, what is the rationale for placing this piece of public infrastructure on the far periphery of the community? Should a project of this magnitude support the need to create more density, equitable access, and economic vitality in our urban core? A centrally located twin pad rink or community centre would do this.
I look forward to hearing this matter being debated during the election.