Discussions surrounding the design of a new arena to replace the Art Hauser Centre will continue at a special council meeting on Monday after the City’s elected officials voted to table the matter on May 3.
Monday’s three item agenda, includes reports on the large arena design, the Indoor Recreation Centre design, and a land acquisition deal to add additional parking. Mayor Greg Dionne said council wanted to deal with the issue at the last council meeting on May 3, but decided to postpone the matter because Couns. Dawn Kilmer and Ted Zurakowski were absent for personal reasons.
City Manager Jim Toye, who authored the report recommending council approve the $2.5-million land purchase to create additional parking, was also unable to attend the May 3 meeting.
“I believe, if you’re going to make a big decision like this, then we should all be there and all be counted, and this is a big decision for the City,” Dionne said.
The proposed arena and event centre design would have seating for 4,500 people.
Council will meet one hour after the special meeting for a regularly scheduled executive committee meeting. That agenda includes four reports from administration and committees, and a seven item consent agenda.
The biggest item centres on vacant lot sales in the Crescent Acres Neighbourhood Phase Four Subdivision. Administration has recommended council vote to reduce the cost of lots by 20 per cent from the original sale price. That would be a seven per cent decrease from the current sale price.
Council voted to eliminate the 20 per cent franchise fee last year, which resulted in a 13 per cent total reduction on each lot. However, Planning and Development Services Director Craig Guidinger, who authored the report, said that resulted in a lot of confusion from residents and council members, who believed eliminating the 20 per cent franchise fee would result in a full 20 per cent reduction, instead of 13. Guidinger wrote that council has already approved sales for two lots at the reduced price.
“The Department of Planning and Development Services will be completing a full comprehensive review of our land pricing model in the coming months,” Guidinger wrote. “But, in the interim, it is being requested by administration that an additional 7 per cent be deducted off of the price of our lots so that we are consistent with past decisions.”
There are still 37 unsold lots in the Crescent Acres Phase Four Subdivision, five of which are currently on hold.
Guidinger wrote that reducing the price would help those purchasers, since the cost of construction has increase over the past year. However, he said also wrote that it’s not clear whether a price reduction would encourage more new home builds.