The Town of Gander is taking a serious look at whether it needs a second community centre to keep up with increased demand for a space to host sporting events, concerts and conventions.
‘It’s more than a second ice surface. It’s a facility that will allow us to do more things.’
– Brian Dove
The Steele Community Centre, which opened 17 years ago, has hosted AHL games, world-class skaters and countless provincial and local tournaments.
In recent years, however, there have been calls for another building to keep up with all the bookings for ice time and convention space.
That’s why the town commissioned a $40,000 study this year to see what options are available for building a second facility on the same land as the existing centre.
According to Brian Dove, a councillor on the town’s recreation committee, a new centre would be very much welcomed by more than just local hockey players.
“It’s more than a second ice surface. It’s a facility that will allow us to do more things,” he told the Central Morning Show. “If we have a big convention come in and they want to do a trade show, we automatically have to move out all of the user groups.”
The Steele Centre also doesn’t allow equipment to be hung from the ceiling, which means it can’t accommodate the lighting and sound rigs necessary to hold large indoor concerts.
The study looked at three options for a new facility: building it parallel to the current centre, placing it perpendicular to the centre or having it on the same land but not attached to the existing structure.
Dove said the first option of a parallel structure is the one preferred by both the consultants and council, even though it costs $12 million instead of the projected $8 million for the perpendicular option.
“With the $12 million concept, you get everything else in addition to the ice surface,” he said. “You get an approximately 2,500-seating arrangement, and you can do all the other stuff that we can’t do in the current building.”
Now that the study is complete, the next step is to wait for municipal elections to be over at the end…