What do the majority of Nanaimo residents want
1. A Multiplex featuring both a 5,000 seat Large Venue Sports and Entertainment Centre and a Convention Centre rather than a stand-alone Conference Centre (NNC).
2. City Council to establish a task force to determine whether Nanaimo would be best served by a Multiplex or a stand-alone Conference Centre.
Why Nanaimo needs a Multiplex
1. If public funding for the NNC increases to $75 million, a multi-use facility (Multiplex) would provide better value to our community.
(a) The City of Kingston is building a $37 million Multiplex (consisting of a 5,000 seat Large Venue Sports and Entertainment Centre and a Conference Centre). The Kingston Multiplex would be similar to what already exists in comparably sized BC communities such as Prince George, Kelowna, Kamloops and Chilliwack.
(b) If more convention facilities or increased seating capacity are required, Nanaimo could construct a Multiplex similar to the Everett Events Center in Everett, Washington. $71 million (USD) bought that community a Large Venue Sports and Entertainment Centre (seating 8,000 for hockey) and 57,000 square feet of convention and trade show space. There is also an attached three-storey Conference Center that includes three 900 square foot executive meeting rooms, a 12,000 square foot ballroom, which can be arranged in a number of different configurations, and a full banquet kitchen (source: everetteventscenter.com).
2. A Multiplex that includes both a Large Venue Sports and Entertainment Centre and a Convention Centre makes better economic sense than a stand-alone Conference Centre such as the NNC. A Multiplex only requires land assembly at one location, would be cheaper to construct (than 2 stand-alone facilities), would have a greater number of bookings throughout the year and could be operated by just one set of administrators and staff. A Multiplex also does not require the involvement of a private partner. If the hole in the ground on Commercial Street is not the right location for a Multiplex then City Council should ask its staff and consultants to find the best location.
3. A Multiplex will enhance our infrastructure and confirm Nanaimo\'s position as a regional trading centre allowing us to compete with other Vancouver Island or interior communities for tourism dollars, relocating retirees and small and medium sized business.
4. Aside from the Port Theatre, which seats about 800, the only other facility that Nanaimo could consider a sports or entertainment centre is 30 + year old Frank Crane Arena. At 2800 seats, Frank Crane Arena it is too small to host any major sporting events (such as the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championships which were played in Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna) or be the home to a Western Hockey League team. A WHL team would attract fans from Campbell River to the north, Port Alberni to the west and Duncan to the south, all within a 70 minute drive.
5. Nanaimo\'s current spectator/entertainment facilities either lack the number of seats or the type of acoustics that are required to attract major bands, concerts, performances, exhibitions or large scale exhibits (for example, a Bryan Adams Concert). If Nanaimo had a larger sports and entertainment centre, then along with the new Save On Foods Arena in Victoria, promoters would have 2 venues located only 60 miles apart that could cross promote major events or attractions.
6. In the recent Masterplan commissioned by the City of Nanaimo (Parks, Recreation and Culture), the consultant suggested that the City research options in connection with a Large Venue Sports and Entertainment Centre.
7. The atmosphere within a city and a city\'s profile are raised to a new and higher level when a facility such as a Multiplex is completed. Community pride and community spirit are interwoven and contagious. When a city is a better and more interesting place to live, people move to live there. When people move to Nanaimo more jobs and economic activity are created, the tax base increases and Nanaimo becomes even a better place to live.
Chuck Blanaru on behalf of the Coalition For Nanaimo Arenas
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