Kitchener-Waterloo

Cambridge needs time to pick final multiplex location, councillor says

One year ago, Coun. Nicholas Ermeta suggested the city should move a proposed sports multiplex off lands owned by Conestoga College to Riverside Park. He says he's happy with the decision to revisit where the multiplex might go.

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta suggested finding a new location for the facility a year ago

Cambridge city council has yet to decide where the proposed sports multiplex will go. (City of Cambridge)

Cambridge city council needs to do its due diligence to make sure the proposed sports multiplex goes in the best place for residents, Coun. Nicholas Ermeta says.

The matter is set to come before council on March 20, but Ermeta told CBC K-W's The Morning Edition host Craig Norris Thursday he thinks that meeting "will be a start of a decision."

"I would be very surprised if we made a decision that night," Ermeta said.

It was a year ago when Ermeta proposed the city needed to reconsider placing the multiplex on lands owned by Conestoga College.

"I want council to realize that the location they have chosen is unacceptable and that we need to find a site that is better for all of Cambridge," Ermeta told CBC K-W on March 9, 2016.

He suggested Riverside Park would be a good place for it.
The taskforce ranked six locations based on certain criteria. 1001 Franklin Blvd. was removed from the list because it is already leased to a company that runs a sports facility, including ice pads. (Report to council)

Residents glad council's reconsidering site

Since he made that suggestion, a task force was struck and there have been numerous debates, public meetings and conversations about where the sports multiplex should go.

It's a process Ermeta said he is pleased with, and so are his constituents.

"Now that we've reopened it, their mind is at ease. They're glad that we're revisiting it," he said.

Ermeta said he is OK with the fact Riverside Park did not make the list of five proposed sites suggested by the task force.

"I wanted to see what would evolve from that process and I'm very impressed with what the task force recommended," he said.
This map shows the land the City of Cambridge had planned to lease from Conestoga College to build a recreation multiplex, but now the city is going to consider other locations. (City of Cambridge)

'There's a clear need'

In October, Coun. Donna Reid said the extra time to do extra consultation will increase the cost.

"There is that fear … the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes and whether or not we're going to be able to find a place that is satisfactory to enough people and the cost is something that we can bear," Reid told CBC K-W.

"My fear is that it won't happen and it will get deferred and we won't have a multiplex."

Ermeta said the benefit to community outweighs any cost increases that may be incurred by delaying the project. He said he is also concerned the project will keep getting put off, but said it can't wait another 10 years.

"I believe it's an important project," he said. "I believe that our existing facilities could use improvement and that the sports groups have been waiting for years. There's a clear need."

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