Details on arena to be revealed 

Public will have chance to comment on Saturday, Aug. 27

The long awaited financial details on the Paralympic arena will finally be made public Monday night after months of closed-door discussions.

Council will receive a report at next week’s evening meeting detailing staff’s recommendation for the 5,000-seat arena.

The report will outline the options explored for the facility, including a temporary arena, putting it in the village on Lot 1/Lot 9, or giving Squamish the chance to build it. The report will also include information from a confidential KPMG study, commissioned by the municipality in 2002. That study states an arena would add value to the resort experience but it won’t necessarily drive additional visitors to Whistler.

Last week Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland confirmed with Pique Newsmagazine that his town would build the arena should Whistler council choose to forgo it. He has a verbal commitment from the Junior A hockey team, the Chilliwack Chiefs, who would play out of a new Squamish arena and be its permanent tenant, making the venture economically feasible.

The arena, which is to host the sledge hockey events during the Paralympic Games in 2010, was originally slated for the village on the land behind the Brew Pub, called Lot 1/Lot 9.

During the Olympic bid process, Whistler was promised a $20 million contribution from the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the facility.

In a previous interview with Pique Newsmagazine, Whistler’s Mayor Hugh O’Reilly said Whistler would still get an ice sheet and a financial contribution for the athletes centre from VANOC even if they choose not to build the arena in the resort. It is not clear how much money VANOC would give Squamish towards the facility, should the arena go there.

Council will not make a decision Monday night. Instead, at an earlier request of Councillor Gordon McKeever, the municipality will hold a public open house with the details of the facility, the rationale for staff’s recommendation and allow the community to provide feedback.

The open house is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Spruce Grove Field House, from 2 to 7 p.m.

Council will then make their final decision at an evening meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

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