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North Bay budgets for new arena

New facility is expected to be open in 2020
North Bay said it will budget for a new arena in 2018. Its existing facility, Memorial Gardens (pictured), has undergone extensive renovations since 2013, in an effort to attract more sports tourism, conferences and tradeshows. (File photo)

The City of North Bay is making room in its 2018 budget for a new arena.

During an Oct. 19 capital budget meeting, council gave its full support to include plans for a new arena in its 10-year capital plan.

The new facility is expected to be open in 2020.

Mark King, chair of the city’s community services committee, said in a statement that planning can begin now, including what will be built and where.

“Staff will be exploring the best way to proceed with planning and design,” King said in the release.

“The arena committee will have its recommendation for the proposed site, and whether we move ahead with a single or double pad, by the end of the year.”

John Severino, managing director of community services for the city, said it’s important to take the time now to plan the best possible facility to meet the needs of the community for generations into the future.

“Over the next several months, staff will be concentrating on the planning process,” he said. “In the meantime, we anticipate no programming will be affected with the commission date of 2020.”

North Bay has made sports tourism a focus of its tourism approach. Among other events, it successfully lobbied to hold the 2018 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, which will be held at the city’s main arena, Memorial Gardens, in March.

Memorial Gardens has undergone a series of renovations since 2013 to make it attractive for sports events, conferences and tradeshows.