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EDITORIAL: Civic must involve public

There is a need to go to the public instead of just demolishing arena
Google Maps: Vernon Civic Arena

The easy solution would be knock Civic Arena down.

After all, the floor heaves, the plumbing is archaic, drainage is swamping the building and there are 12-inch cracks in some of the walls. Quite frankly, the structure has seen better days.

However, Vernon council was right to hold off on the wrecking ball Monday and take a more cautious approach.

“We need to look at it in every possible way before we decide to possibly demolish it,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

And that makes sense as there is a lot of history and community pride connected to the 1938 landmark.

Are there potential uses for the building, whether it’s athletic, cultural or community, especially when many groups are looking for space?

Obviously, though, the challenge with Civic possibly evolving into another use is the price tag, especially when current safety codes will have to be met.

City staff has suggested repurposing could cost between $8.2 and $11.6 million but that’s just a guess. On top of that, there would also be additional costs like improving drainage on the site and creating parking as much of the existing parking lot would disappear for 29th Street extension.

But gathering these details are important so residents have clear facts before them when asked what should happen to Civic. They may decide the cost is too high, or they may consider upgrades an investment for the future.

Civic has been a critical part of the community for decades and it only makes sense that residents have a role in the next chapter.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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