Peterborough Petes’ board president Dave Pogue is confident that if Peterborough didn’t already have an Ontario Hockey League franchise, then the city as it stood wouldn’t qualify to host a team based on our aging arena.
“I can guarantee you there would be no team granted for this facility,” said Pogue. “We’re only here because of the history and the tradition of the franchise… there’s no doubt that we have deficiencies here, that this building [Memorial Centre] will never be able to be brought up to standard.”
Built in 1956 for $875,000, the arena on Lansdowne Street has served as the home for the Petes who are the oldest franchise in the OHL, and in the summer, is home of the Peterborough Lakers, the most decorated senior lacrosse program in the country.
The Memorial Centre is continually undergoing construction and patchwork. Back in 2003, the facility underwent a $13-million renovation which city hall is continuing to pay off for the next six years.
In the meantime, it’s anticipated the city will have to spend more than $2 million to upgrade the floor and refrigeration system in 2019.
“I’ve said it before,” said Pogue. “This rink is a never-ending money pit.”
Now, the city is undergoing an arena and entertainment facility feasibility study and at Monday night’s city council meeting, Jon Hack, an arena planning consultant, was hired to spearhead the study.
The study is already underway and is examining the future of the Memorial Centre, and what kind of new sports and entertainment facility would best serve the city for the next 30 years.
The study will roll out in two phases, with phase one will looking at the needs in the community and determining what kind of facility would best suit the city, while phase two will examine what the designs will entail and other factors like costs.
“I sensed from the room last night in the chambers that councillors were pretty impressed,” said Pogue who was in attendance.
City staff suggest it would be at least five years before the project broke ground.
“Even if they are given the green light to move as quick as you can, it typically still takes at least five years,” said the director of community services Ken Doherty. “If there is any hesitation, either in terms of site location or terms of budget… then it could take 10 years.”
Mayor Daryl Bennett and city staff have suggested that the public works yard at Townsend and Aylmer streets is a possible location for a new facility, while other options will also be considered.
Early estimates on a midsize sports and entertainment venue would cost between $75-$100 million.
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