Residents of the city of Markham have mixed feelings about the plan to construct an NHL-sized arena.
Council members approved a multi-million dollar plan to go ahead with the plans to build the proposed 20,000-seat arena late Tuesday night. They debated for eight hours, going until about 3am finishing with a close vote of 7-6 in favour of building the arena.
The arena would boost the city’s chance to acquire their own NHL team, which is part of the goal. Markham considers itself a big hockey town complete with OHL team the Markham Waxers.
The arena would create 1,600 jobs and bring in more than $60 million in economic impact to the community. “And that’s without an NHL team, if we ever were to get an NHL team then the economic impact would be double.” Mayor Frank Scarpitti said.
The arena planned is expected to cost $325 million. It would be built near the 407 and Kennedy Road area.
Part of the money would be coming in from new homes and condos built in Markham over the next 20 years. The plan is to tack-on a levy of $5000 for every new home buyer and $2000 for every new condo buyer.
Markham has been feeling pressure and urgency to have the arena plans approved, fear has been instilled that if Markham doesn’t act now they will forever lose the possibility of having their own NHL team; worse, they could lose the opportunity to a neighbouring town like Vaughn.
Financials aside, the true problem here is that if Markham gets a real NHL team, Toronto is going to want one too…