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Council has a new plan to resurrect Centennial Arena

Collingwood did it and they are happy with how it turned out
A file photo shows the interior of Centennial Arena

Like the mythical bird the Phoenix that rose from the ashes of the past, Elliot Lake City Council has decided to resurrect Centennial Arena which was declared derelict by building inspectors just weeks ago. The closure call was made after recent testing showed the wooden truss support system in the building was irreparable.

Inspection also showed the old building on Spruce Avenue would cost more than $600,000 to refurbish at its present site, and that would only extend its life a  couple more years, at best. This outcome set Elliot Lake city staff and elected officials on a quest to find a sustainable outcome to accommodate hockey and figure skating interests at the present site.

Elliot Lake CAO Daniel Gagnon told council members Monday night the new idea is for the roof and walls of the old building be torn down and replaced with pre-engineered materials. Mr. Gagnon said the goal is to salvage as much of this year's ice season as possible. Reps for Sprung Instant Structures, of Calgary, are in town this week to talk with long time city engineering consultants Tulloch Engineering, discussing options.

That said, cost remains an unknown. Mayor Dan Marchisella wants Tulloch to produce an RFP (request for proposals) as soon as possible for a pre-engineered structure that could fit over the existing Centennial Arena pad and ice plant. In other words, everything would be new from the ground up.

Mayor Marchisella has seen the exterior of two of Sprung's buildings which house an arena and swimming pool in Collingwood. He said they were quite impressive were both built in the last 10 years. At the same time, Mr. Gagnon, for his part, wants to establish aggressive, yet realistic timelines, for the Centennial Arena rebuild.

Councillor Ed Pearce said Councillors have received a lot of public pushback, especially on social media, about the plight Elliot Lake faces on several fronts, regarding city buildings. He added, "It happened because of the inactions of a whole bunch of people over 50 years. (Also) The lack of money to properly maintain buildings . . . and we weren't doing it as a community."

Mayor Marchisella insisted the decision not to opt for a bandaid repair for Centennial Arena was the right one. He concluded, "We do need to expedite the process to do something that makes sense, and that's where we're heading."

CAO Gagnon has spoken with officials in Collingwood regarding their experience with their pre-engineered Sprung buildings. The company's construction method involves erecting prefabricated aluminum structural members that support and form walls and roof with utility components located within an insulated section encased on the interior and exterior of the building with weatherproof membranes. Regarding Collingwood, Gagnon added, "They (officials) were rather encouraging.They did reiterate that it goes up rather quickly, is airtight and a very good envelope for heat efficiency."