By Joel van der Veen
City council has given formal approval for the rezoning and eventual sale of the Civic Centre property to a commercial developer for $2.07 million.
Council approved the two motions, brought forward at an executive committee meeting on April 9, at its regular meeting on Monday night.
However, one councillor expressed his dismay that more consideration wasn’t given towards bids that allowed for the centre’s preservation, as the prospective buyer reportedly intends to demolish the decades-old arena.
“I think in the end that factor played a more minimal role,” said Coun. Don Mitchell. “It’s my feeling that that weight could have been more substantial.”
Mitchell did not oppose the property’s rezoning, but asked for a recorded vote on both that and the motion to allow the mayor and city clerk to conduct the sale in the future. His was the only dissenting vote on the latter motion, and both were carried.
Coun. Brian Swanson said he was pleased with the deal reached by the city, noting that the minimum bid was $400,000, and that the buyer has agreed to cover demolition costs.
“I think on a bottom line return, it’s a better deal than I had hoped for,” he said, but also voiced his disappointment with the overall process, since the centre had recently received substantial renovations prior to its closure last year.
“Up close, it looks like a tragedy but if you’re from far away it’s a comedy,” he said, asking rhetorically, “What kind of community spends $3 million upgrading its hockey rink, only to turn around and abandon the rink and build another one?”
He also noted the removal of the seats and ice plant, and what he called a “restrictive” parking agreement with the owners of Town ‘n’ Country Mall, as signs that the centre’s fate has been sealed for months already.
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.