Arenas getting upgrades

·2 min read

Chatham-Kent’s arenas may be getting a sprucing up worth more than $880,000, despite “failure in the future” for the aging infrastructures.

Chatham-Kent’s staff presented council with a report at a recent meeting recommending that it’s facilities, some as old as 70 years, get upgrades. The 2021 Arena Capital Asset Lifecycle projects are valued at a total of $888,950. The report does not include the cost for each individual arena’s renovation in order to ensure a competitive bidding process for contractors. With no luck on provincial funding for Chatham-Kent’s multi-sports complex concept with a twin-pad arena, the municipality is stuck with what it's got for the time being. At the meeting, East Kent Coun. Anthony Ceccacci asked staff how the aging arenas would hold up in catastrophic failures and if there were contingency plans in place. “We've gone through that in great detail with all of our arenas. And we have a number of concerns that over the next 10 years we estimate in order to keep these facilities running we'll have to spend in the neighbourhood of $19 million. So that's about an average $2 million per arena,” said Thomas Kelly, general manager of Infrastructure And Engineering Services. The oldest arena in need of an upgrade is Wallaceburg Memorial, built in 1948. The youngest arena is the Chatham Thames Campus built in 1991. Kelly said the biggest concerns are the concrete in seven of the 10 arenas with potential repairs that could run in excess of $1 million. The repairs would come out of the assess management plan which is currently underfunded, Kelly said. “We will have a situation where one day the concrete floor will fail. And as a result we'll have to replace the entire structure. So, when that happens, we will definitely have our facilities down, and the option to avert that is to proactively start to take the floors, one at a time every year,” Kelly said.

Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice