Volume 94, Issue 2

Friday, May 19, 2000


NEWS

New student code of conduct drafted

UWOFA talks could mean deal

Private universities plan announced

New buildings put under microscope

Mental giants make presence felt at fair

Petition tries to rub out massage parlours

Prelude to an election

Council passes new arena proposal

Ravers get cold shower

Council passes new arena proposal

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff



The London Knights will soon be moving on up to new digs on the Talbot Block, however not everyone is excited about the arena which will be their new home.

Earlier this week, London City Council voted 15-4 in favour of a proposed arena presented by Ellis-Don construction. Jack Stelpstra, construction manager for the victorious construction company, described the new arena, which will house the London Knights hockey club as "a mini Air Canada Centre."

Stelpstra said the entire complex will cost $41.2 million. It will be equipped with a ground-level ice pad and high quality lighting and sound systems. For hockey games, the arena will be equipped with seamless glass around the boards, a top of the line refrigeration system and a seating capacity of 9,000.

For concerts and other presentations, the arena will have a 60x80 foot stage and a larger seating capacity of 10,000. Stelpstra spoke highly of the overall facilities, likening them to major sports and entertainment complexes in North America.

"We hope to break ground in September, with completion coming in January or February of 2002," he said, adding a retail store, sports cafe and London sports hall-of-fame will be adjoined to the arena.

Ward 2 Councillor Joe Swan, who voted in favour of the plan, said he was ecstatic at finally reaching a decision on an arena deal. "Wow, we actually got it done," he said.

Swan said he felt the community was excited about the new arena and commended Ellis-Don on their proposal. "Their plan presented more value for the price. We felt that the way they used their space was a better fit," he said. "They were also very passionate about the project."

Swan added public information sessions would be held providing opportunity for further improvements and suggestions. He also viewed the venture as a money-making opportunity for the city. "I think we're making an investment, not just spending money."

Despite Swan's enthusiasm Orlando Zamprogna, City Council Controller, said he saw many negatives in the arena decision. Zamprogna said in his opinion the City stands to lose $29 million from the project and public consideration will not result in any significant improvements.

Zamprogna also criticized the placement of the new arena, on the Talbot Block near the Covenant Market. "The actual design doesn't belong on that block," he said.


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