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Voice readers: “Sell the arena”

BY VOICE STAFF

Voice readers have come out strongly in support of selling Pelham’s old arena on Haist Street.

Last week, the Voice Poll asked readers to respond to a short series of questions on the facility’s future. As of Sunday evening, 184 qualified responses were tabulated, with the following results. (Percentages rounded to nearest whole number.)

Question 1 asked whether the Town should sell the arena and allow residential development on the site. By a margin of more than 2-to-1, respondents said yes.

Question 2 asked whether the Town should retain the facility and rehabilitate it for different public use. Over 8 in 10 respondents answered no.

Question 3 asked whether the Town should retain the property, demolish the arena, and turn the entire area into a public park. While there was slightly more enthusiasm for this option, some 7 in 10 respondents still answered no.

Finally, Question 4 asked how much more residents were willing to pay in property taxes, for two years, if the Town did in fact elect to retain the property and either rehab the arena building, or demolish it to create a park. Some 12% of respondents said that they would pay up to 5% more in taxes; 2% of respondents said they would pay from 6-10% more; and 2% of respondents said that they would pay from 11-20% more. An overwhelming majority of respondents, however, said that they were not willing to pay a single dollar more in property taxes to retain the property.

This suggests that even among those advocating keeping the property, there is strong reluctance to contribute personally to achieve this goal.

The Voice will continue to run the poll while the Town runs it own poll on the issue. We will update our results concurrently with the Town’s results in approximately two weeks. If you have not yet taken our poll, you may find it at: www.thevoiceofpelham.ca/old_arena

The Town’s poll may be found at: www.pelham.ca/arena-lands

There is extensive discussion about the arena lands in this week’s Voice, starting with coverage of last week’s public Q&A at the community centre (page 1), and commentary both pro and con on selling the property (page 5).

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