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McMeeken Centre has one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel, City Council learns

'The staff is really holding that place together with bits and pieces' - Mayor Christian Provenzano
2020-05-11 COVID City Council
Hollywood Squares: At a Monday-night Zoom teleconference, City Council agreed to promote the city to film and television directors, using a scene from the popular television series Vikings

The W. J. McMeeken Centre arena is in imminent danger of becoming unusable, city councillors were told tonight.

"I realize that the McMeeken is far beyond its lifespan," Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Shoemaker commented during a discussion about the need to press on this year with work on a new twin-pad arena and other capital projects.

"Would it be fair to say we're only one catastrophic incident away from that coming off-line as a usable rink?" Shoemaker asked.

"Yes," responded chief administrative officer Malcolm White.

"I think the community is well aware that the current McMeeken arena is on its last legs and very close to end of life," White said.

"I don't think we're one catastrophic event away from that being offline," said Mayor Christian Provenzano. "I think we're one event away from that being offline." 

"I toured it a few months ago with Minister [Lisa] MacLeod, who is responsible for the portfolio that would be funding that project. The staff is really holding that place together with bits and pieces. We can lose that facility very quickly," the mayor said.

Malcolm White, the city's chief administrative officer, argued in a report that Sault Ste. Marie should commence work this spring on almost $55 million in planned capital construction projects, even though the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic isn't yet known.

Other news from tonight's City Council meeting:

  • the city will conclude negotiations to use a scene from the television series Vikings, filmed four years ago near Echo Bay, in a highlight reel aimed at attracting movie production to Sault Ste. Marie
  • councillors agreed to spend $60,000 for feasibility study and initial design concept for a major expansion of the Kinsmen Centre at Hiawatha Highlands

  • a $570,229 contract was awarded to Avery Construction Ltd. for aqueduct repairs on Farwell Terrace. To accommodate the work, Farwell Terrace will be closed between Wallace Terrace and Devon Road from May 15 until Oct. 21.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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