Markham councilor against proposed arena

Just over 24 hours after the Markham City Council voted in favour of scrapping plans that would have halted the construction of their $325 million arena, regional councilor Jim Jones talked to Sportsnet 590 The Fan and presented arguments against the city’s NHL-sized arena.

“It’s professional entertainment and that’s a private sector business,” Jones told Brady and Lang in the Morning. “It’s not something that a municipality should be in.”

Jones, who voted in favour of the motion that was rejected by a 7-6 margin, believes that the arena’s original motion comfortably passed by an 11-2 margin because the initial process was pushed too quickly.

“In April of last year there was so little known,” Jones said. “(There) was hardly any public process at all or virtually none.”

Despite the fact that construction on the arena will continue as scheduled, Jones believes there are still many hurdles to clear in terms of the project’s funding.

“I don’t think it’s going to go ahead with the funding formula the way it is,” Jones explained. “I think Graeme Roustan comes to the table with no money. When he initially came he implied or inferred that he had lots of money and I think Rudy (Bratty’s) going to have to get a partner that can come along with him with money.”

Frank Scarpitti, the mayor of Markham, spoke with Hockey Central at Noon on Thursday about the project and said that despite the close vote, there are a lot people excited to get the construction underway.

“There’s a lot of strong support in the city of Markham — everyone from residents to people who play sports to the business people. They see the merits of pursuing this type of facility for our city on so many different levels,” Scarpitti said. “On Tuesday night we had to deal with a motion by a couple of the councilors that would have essentially killed this project and what was great… was that council heard a lot from the other side.”

As more details about the arena will be continue to be presented in front of council, Scarpetti hopes to have everything finalized in the next few months.