Barrie Colts on the side of the enlarged Sadlon Arena
“The expansion would allow us to remain competitive with other arenas in our league,” said Colts co-owner Jim Payetta.
A bigger Sadlon arena would be great news for the Barrie Colts.
“We are in dire need of expanding our facilities,” said Jim Payetta, co-owner of the Ontario Hockey League team. “As the league has grown, the demand for facilities to include things like a players ‘gym, a video replay room, appropriate medical facilities, a players’ conference area,” appropriate training facilities, etc.
“The expansion would allow us to remain competitive with other arenas in our league that have all of these facilities on site,” added Payetta, who is also responsible for Colts business development and marketing.
An enlarged Sadlon Arena is at least a step closer, if not quite there yet.
City Council on Monday approved a motion asking staff to report before completing and submitting a grant application for the Ontario Community Development Fund – Capital Stream to expand the Bayview Drive facility in southern Barrie.
It would be a three story addition to the north side of the building including a new grand arena entrance with additional multi-purpose space / trade show, ticket booths, concessions, multi-purpose sports bar, offices additional and retail space, possibly a new home for the Barrie Sports Hall of Fame, additional locker rooms, dining and lounge areas for players, medical facilities, storage space and meeting, a multimedia lounge and a VIP lounge, a new sound system, an improved green room with additional seats for spectators to bring its total capacity to approximately 5,000 people.
The capital cost estimate is between $ 7 million and $ 9 million, but those numbers are from a year old.
If the expansion occurs, Barrie could one day host the most important event in the Canadian Hockey League.
“The expansion would not only allow us to be able to host a Memorial Cup, but it would give the city the opportunity to host many other regional, provincial and national events, including curling, figure skating, minor hockey tournaments and other events such as concerts and trade shows, conferences, etc. Said Payetta.
“In addition, the new media facilities would give the city the capacity to properly host media for larger provincial and national events which are attracting a lot of media attention,” he added. “The enlarged lobby area would also be great. As you know, when the rink is packed for a game, the hall is very busy and crowded.
“Overall this is a much needed upgrade. “
Com. Gary Harvey, who is driving the project forward, also said the expansion was needed for Sadlon Arena to host major national and international events. The lack of seating and event space does not allow this now.
City staff would work with community stakeholders including, but not limited to Tourism Barrie, Barrie Colts, Canadian Hockey League, Skate Canada and Curling Canada to ensure the application meets requirements. of these organizations to host provincial, national and international competitions.
Harvey said the subsidy, funding for the Barrie municipal tax on lodging and other federal funding could cover the costs, so taxpayers would not be liable. Tax revenues are divided between the City of Barrie and Tourism Barrie.
The arena, formerly known as the Barrie Molson Center, was state of the art when it opened in December 1995, but no more.
The economic impact of hosting national and international events could also be substantial. Curling Canada events cost $ 6 million to $ 10 million, Harvey said, Memorial Cup $ 16 to $ 18 million and Skate Canada $ 45 million and help the hospitality industry, which has been severely affected by the pandemic.
If the request is successful, city staff will report to councilors on current funding options and operational implications for the proposed Sadlon Arena expansion.
The Ontario Community Development Fund – Capital Component provides support for the repair, renovation or modernization of existing sports and recreational infrastructure to meet public health requirements related to COVID-19 and the needs of the community.
A provincial body, the Ontario Trillium Foundation website, says more information will be available later this year.
Harvey said the grant has an overall budget of $ 55 million for submissions and the grants typically cover 50% of the capital cost.