Markham councillors debate proposed arena
Published Friday, April 20, 2012 7:08PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 8:05AM EDT
Markham municipal councillors discussed an official proposal to bring a 20,000-seat sports and entertainment centre to the town.
The $325-million GTA Centre would be built at the Unionville GO Station and would be funded by private investors and the local community.
Graeme Roustan, head of the GTA Sports and Entertainment Consortium said the Greater Toronto Area is the only community that has 5 million people, and the market is growing to 150,000 people a year.
He said the GTA is an "under-served market" when it comes to sports arenas.
Roustan said groups are trying to move the proposal forward as fast as possible because he plans to bid on bringing the World Junior Hockey Championships to Markham for 2014.
"It's a world-class international event, which brings the whole point of bringing it to Markham, since Markham is the most diversified community in Canada," he said.
Roustan said in terms of bringing an NHL team to Markham, he didn't have "anything to talk about."
Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti said the centre would not be like other sports venues across the country, where one event ticket would provide access to the entire centre.
"It's not sustainable to have such a large building sitting there during the day when we…could have events in other parts of the building," he said.
The facility's creation is being proposed to respond to the need for a larger venue to host community events, concerts, and major sporting events in the GTA, according to the consortium.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney