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North Bay city council proceeds with revamped community centre and twin-pad arena

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A community centre and hockey arena project that has seen lots of changes will be moving forward under a revamped plan.

North Bay city council voted 9-1 to direct staff to develop a “progressive design build” (PBD) proposal to be issued in the first quarter of next year.

This is in an attempt to complete the facility in 2025 and at the same time meet net zero-carbon requirements to receive close to $26 million in federal funding.

The progressive design build style allows the city to build parts of the arena and make changes as the project moves forward.

“As we move forward in this project, we can ensure as a council that everything we need as a functional program including barrier-free is maintained,” Mayor Peter Chirico said during the meeting.

A special committee meeting portion was held earlier in the evening where councillors learned the reboot will, according to a Colliers Project Leaders consultant, cost an estimated $60 million, likely a bit more.

When bids came back at between $70-82 million, council voted to issue a request for expression of interest for the proposed facility at a limit of $52 million.

But, the firms interested in taking the project on say they can’t deliver at that price tag nor build it as quickly as the city wants.

“If we want the meet the timelines to have a chance to meet the requirements to secure the federal funding, we better allow for a premium as well,” said Coun. Chris Mayne.

“We’re getting pretty close to the tender we had not long ago.”

The city would like the facility to open in 2025 to coincide with its 100th birthday celebrations.

“I think we've reached a point where we need to draw a line in the sand and move forward,” said Coun. Lana Mitchell. “We're either building an arena or we're not. I don't know how else to say it."

Current design plans include two ice pads that can seat 250 fans each, 12 change rooms that can fit up to 25 people, a 223-space parking lot with 10 accessible parking spaces and city bus drop-off area. 

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