Second look at
twin-pad siting

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Nov 19/97) - All bets are off on the location and configuration of the new community arena until after a public meeting hosted by the community services committee.

A proposed new site for the arena -- the old GNWT- owned liquor warehouse on Old Airport Road across from McDonalds -- was up for discussion at a meeting of the committee Monday.

Staff recommended the committee, and council, give the go-ahead to enter into negotiations with the territorial government for the site.

But aldermen on committee said the public wants more of an opportunity to have a say in where the $10-million complex is built.

"Even though administration is suggesting no more public consultation is needed for the selection of a site, I heard something totally different during this election," said Ald. Bob Brooks.

"The way this recommendation reads is that we're going with the liquor warehouse site."

Administration recommended only residents in the area of the liquor warehouse be consulted.

Brooks, committee chair Cheryl Best and Mayor Dave Lovell agreed to open the Dec. 1 meeting to input from any members of the public. A time was not set for the meeting, but it was agreed it would be held in the evening.

The search for a new building location began in the fall, when the city and the Yellowknives Dene failed to reach an agreement for the original site selected, Twin Pine Hill. The Yellowknives have identified it as part of their land claim.

Lovell said the city has received "rather desperate signals" from the territorial government indicating the property may be turned over to the city for free.

"What it amounts to is a grant of $1.5 million, and I guess it came up because of the territorial government's reluctance to deal with the issue of land claims within municipal boundaries."

Other site options were put forward at the meeting.

Brooks presented a plan outlining the benefits of building on the old Bartam trailer park site, at the foot of Twin Pine Hill.

Roy Desjarlais said he had yet to be convinced the new arena could not be built on the site of Gerry Murphy Arena, which it will replace.

Businessman Dan Hayward argued that for the sake of convenience the new arena should be located near the Yellowknife Community Arena.

Representing a coaltion of arena user groups, Ter Hamer said he had no objection to site selection, so long as it did not delay completion of the facility, tentatively scheduled for next fall.

Hamer recommended an information package city staff are assembling for the meeting include a timeline for completion.