Skip to content

Maroosis: 'Let's take a breath and reflect' on Community and Recreation Centre

'I don't believe we should be getting into that huge expenditure in 2021'

North Bay City Councillor George Maroosis wants to see a 20-year business plan for the Community and Recreation Centre (CRC) proposed to be constructed on the ground of the Steve Omischl Sports Complex.

"I think we need to reflect on it and putting a business plan together is part of that reflection," says Maroosis. "We can wait for the proper timing to build. I think they can take some of the costs they've put into the budget, around this arena, they could also be put on ice and reduce the tax increase as everyone takes a breather."

Should a motion Maroosis and seconder, Coun. Mark King, will bring forward during Tuesday's regular meeting pass, City of North Bay CAO David Euler will be directed to prepare and present a plan for the CRC and associated grounds, including "all expenses both operating and capital and the projected revenues to service these costs." 

During a Jan. 21 budget meeting, CFO Margaret Karpenko presented estimated figures showing the total cost of the project as $42.125 million. This includes the reconstruction of the Lakeshore Drive and Booth Road intersection that would enter the CRC. Estimated special debt to be borne by the City of North Bay and its taxpayers is $31.68 million.

See related story: No shortage of opinions on arena project

See also: (Opinion) Council wrong to double down and go it alone on new arena by using funds from the already strained capital budget

And: (Opinion) New arena 'a needed investment in our long-term recreation and sports infrastructure'

Maroosis says he is curious to see the level at which ice rental rates will be set at a new facility. He recalls a business plan from private interests with designs on building at the North Bay Mall site and how some felt that group's projected ice rental rates were elevated.

"How much are the ice rental rates are going to be," at a new CRC, asks Maroosis, "and how much are taxpayers going to subsidize those rates? And, if we add those together, is this where the private plan was? Or, is there another private plan out there?"

When it comes to the private sector, "I hear rumblings there is still interest," he adds.

Maroosis hopes his colleagues will see the benefits of a deeper dive into the projections for the CRC.

"We've had some figures — but very preliminary figures. For example, they've added dressing rooms that will be used in the summertime by users of the fields," he observes. "Those have got to count in the deal for the operations. So does paying the mortgage to whoever, as well as the interest to whoever."

See also: Deputy Mayor: More community centre delays 'will cost us in the long run'

And: (Opinion) New arena will work as a true community centre

Maroosis has made it no secret to his colleagues and the public he believes the CRC project should be pushed back.

"I don't believe we should be getting into that huge expenditure in 2021," he says. The uncertainty of the pandemic and the associated timelines with vaccine shortages tell Maroosis it is not the time "to be pushing forward with a large project like that."

Maroosis is mindful West Ferris and, eventually, Pete Palangio arenas will need to be replaced, and if the demand for ice remains, those situations will have to be skilfully navigated.

"But, these are tenuous times," says the veteran councillor. "I don't think things are going back to the way they used to be. I think they're going to be quite different."

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
Read more

Reader Feedback