Letters: Multiplex debate nears end

NANAIMO – Readers respond to proposed events centre.

An artist’s rendering of what the concourse might look like at a Nanaimo sports and events centre.

An artist’s rendering of what the concourse might look like at a Nanaimo sports and events centre.

Re: Councillor says WHL a certainty if vote passes, Feb. 21.

Council’s vision of attracting a WHL hockey team to Nanaimo seems to be driving the urgency of building an event centre.

According to the city, the event centre is not viable without a WHL anchor tenant. According to the city’s public consultation, only 3.4 per cent of respondents believed a WHL team was a potential benefit.

Kootenay Ice 2015-16 average attendance in Cranbrook was 1,957.Recent average Nanaimo Clipper attendance is about 1,200. Average WHL attendance in 2015-16 for 10 small market teams was about 2,800.

Frank Crane Arena seats about 3,000.

So realistically the Frank Crane could accommodate the Ice if the league relaxed its arena criteria and the team agreed. This would take care of the hockey aspect and work could commence to finalize development of a more suitable and comprehensive plan for the waterfront site and to study if an additional scaled-down event centre could provide any incremental value to Nanaimo.

Fred Kardel

Re: Experts question benefit gained from event centres, Feb. 16.

I think this city council has to really think about the dollars it is proposing to spend on an events centre. There was a commitment made to expand the RCMP detachment over seven years ago and this has yet to be done.  There is no more room and with the population increasing, more police officers will be required which definitely means more space. What about fixing Northfield Road as promised, delayed once again? The firehall adminstrative building is very old and will also need to be rebuilt. Fix the many potholes in our local streets.

We have one of the highest child poverty rates and if my tax dollars are going to increase, which they will, I would rather see dollars going to improving children’s lives.

I will be voting no.

Sheryl Armstrong

Re: City’s multiplex funding plan isn’t credible, Letters, Feb. 28.

In my opinion, the arguments for both sides in this referendum have dealt almost exclusively with the economics of this proposal and less to do with an opportunity to substantially enhance the quality of life in Nanaimo.

I have played hockey in Nanaimo for more than 50 years and my enjoyment in continuing to play hockey with friends is only surpassed by my enjoyment of watching my children and grandchildren play hockey or take them to a Clippers hockey game. One of my first jobs in Nanaimo was as a lifeguard at the old Bowen Park pool and I still enjoy taking my grandkids to the aquatic centre. And of course, like many others, I love my walks in the back trails with my dog and still enjoy our beautiful waterfront.

The fact however, is that these parks, swimming pools, arenas, baseball and soccer fields never have and never will ‘make economic sense’ – but I wonder what our lives would have been like without these facilities that make Nanaimo such a special place to live.

Imagine if there had been a ‘No’ committee to establish Bowen and Beban Park and all of our playing fields, swimming pools and arenas and what quality of life that we would have had if the ‘No’ people had been successful?

Doug Johnston

Re: Hockey team might not be around long-term, Letters, March 2.

The planners’ projection of event centre programming is mere wishful thinking.

They assume 114 planned event days, including 39 WHL games and 41 ‘special events.’ That leaves 251 unplanned days for ‘community events.’ Given that neither special events nor community events can be predicted, that means that for 292 days out of the year the city has no idea what events, if any, will fill the centre. In effect, the city’s own plan recognizes that the centre will be a white elephant.

The question I have not seen raised is: what else might the Port Drive lands be used for? I would suggest that given the housing crisis in Vancouver, Nanaimo has a golden opportunity to market the 1 Port Dr. lands as a mixed housing, commercial and light manufacturing area for people and businesses unable to afford Vancouver anymore. It would be essential that a significant part of the land be developed by a land trust or some other not-for-profit model, so that commercial and speculative pressures would not cause prices to balloon out of reach here as they have in Vancouver. Intelligently done, such a mixed-use development would be a huge boost to Nanaimo’s downtown and the city as a whole.

James A. Duthie

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