At his annual address to the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope made a familiar statement, that the Municipality is looking into, and would like to build a new arena.
The statement however, came with the caveat that the Municipality’s hope for a new arena is contingent on both provincial and federal funding to help offset the projected $86 million price tag for the project.
Hope also stated a new arena would not mean an increase in facilities, but would be coupled with the closure of Erickson Arena and Memorial Arena.
In 2015, Chatham missed out on the relocation of the Plymouth Whalers due to the lack of an OHL worthy arena, and the absence of a plan to build an arena of this size.
Near the same time, Chatham-Kent council heard a report urging the Municipality not to pursue the construction of an OHL size arena, which the report stated had a price tag between $42 and $67 million.
It appears without a plan in place, this statement from the Mayor is simply more talk.
Discussion on a new arena occurred in 2013, many councillors and mayoral candidates made it a point in their campaigns in 2014, and the list could continue before this time.
Last year, local residents fought to keep Bothwell Arena open, amid continued reports that arena use across the Municipality is declining.
Although many welcome this discussion, without a plan in place, new arena talk is simply talk.