Committee: arena expansion delay may cause loss of momentum

The committee in charge of fund­raising for the PMD Arena expansion is concerned that construction delays could result in a loss of momentum for volunteers.

“We are committed and we are pumped for this project,” Dale Franklin told council last week. “But it’s not very fun right now.”

Franklin, chair of the Map­leton Arena Xpansion committee (MAX), wondered why concerns about the type of roof on the building were not re­layed until “the eleventh hour.”

She noted the roof design –  concrete slab with a two degree grade – was approved by Tacoma Engineers and endorsed by the township’s Chief Building Official and Director of Public Works.

“I feel we’re not trusting the people we’ve put in charge of the process,” Franklin said.

She asked for clarification as to exactly why council was opposed to the “flat” roof design.

Mayor John Green ac­knowledged there is indeed “a prejudice on council,” and said, “I don’t care what the experts say.”

He explained that he has extensive experience with flat roofs, which, while being more expensive, are more prone to leaks and often do not withstand the elements for more than a few years before faltering.

“There is no intent to slow down this process,” Green said. “But I feel I have the responsibility to build it right.”

Green added that he does not really care exactly what the building looks like – he wants a structure that will require a minimal amount of maintenance and cause the least amount of problems.

The rest of council agreed that a flat roof is not the preferred design. Franklin replied if councillors felt so strongly about having a pitched roof they should have made their concerns known to Tacoma long before the April 22 council meeting.

Green told Franklin that meeting was the first time he had seen the flat roof design, and he has said “unequivocally, from day one” that he preferred a sloped roof.

Councillor Mike Downey agreed that council was un­aware of the flat roof design before the April 22 meeting.

The mayor thanked the volunteers for their efforts, and said the township appreciates the help.

“But I don’t think you have the right to hold us to a timeline,” he added.

Franklin agreed, but again asked what exactly council wanted. Green said the township has requested a cost comparison between the two roof designs, and he expressed frustration that it was taking “far too long” for the engineers to supply a pitched roof design.

Franklin said in the future the township should make its preferences clear to designers beforehand in order to save time, because, “Clearly there was a disconnect with  Tacoma.”

Councillor Bruce Whale acknowledged that perhaps council could have gotten word about its roof preference to Tacoma sooner, but Green again stressed that he has insisted on a pitched roof all along.

Franklin said members of the MAX committee are worried because the arena delay brings back memories of several “long delays” with the township’s new medical building in Drayton.

The mayor told Franklin it is not fair to compare the two projects.

“If you want to complain about a delay for one of the finest medical buildings in the county, then come as a delegation [for that],” Green said sternly. As for the arena, if the project has to be delayed in order to build it right, then so be it, he added.