Arena Open House Gets Heated At Times

Thomas Kelly Chatham-Kent

Thomas Kelly, Chatham-Kent’s General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering fields questions at Thursday’s Open House – Photo Contributed by Alysson Storey

The first planned arena open house meeting hosted by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent got heated at times, but overall yielded much discussion about a potential new arena complex.

Thomas Kelly, General Manager of Infrastructure and Engineering for Chatham-Kent took questions from the roughly 50 people in attendance. Raised voices and passionate questions weren’t uncommon during the question and answer period.

“Not everyone wants a twin pad arena, some want multipurpose, others don’t want anything,” Kelly said in response to one question. “That’s why we need your comments. Our role is to capture and summarize the data from the survey and present it to Council.”

The survey results, which saw over 2500 responses (although nothing stopped individuals from filling out the survey multiple times), found the majority of those who responded wanted a twin-pad arena, with the 4,400 seat option getting the most responses.

No sites for a new complex are currently being considered, although Kelly did state the most successful complexes are in or near the Downtown core of cities.

Although several council members were in attendance, nearly half did not attend.

A report to council is scheduled to be delivered May 27 focusing on the survey results and public comments.

“At the end of the day, council will make the decision,” Kelly stated, “One thing we’re trying to do is capture everybody’s opinion, it’s not just the pro, not just the con, its everybody for council to make a decision.”

Kelly stated that although this report will highlight survey information, council could request more information following the May 27 meeting.

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