Committee endorses plan to remove grandstand at Centennial Stadium
KITCHENER In the interest of public safety and fiscal responsibility, the community and infrastructure services committee directed staff to budget the removal of the grandstand seating area from the Centennial Stadium site as part of the 2013 capital budget process.
“I think it’s important to understand that we are not removing Centennial Stadium or Jack Couch Park; we are only taking apart the grandstand,” said Coun. Kelly Galloway, chair of the committee. “Like others, I have many fond memories of participating in events at Centennial Stadium and sitting in the grandstand to watch various events. But this comes down to community safety, as well as our ability to get the facility back up to speed so people can use it. In order to do so, the grandstand needs to come down.”
Last year, public access to the grandstands and one portable at Centennial Stadium and a second portable at Jack Couch Ball Park were closed to the public after facility audits were conducted to evaluate the condition of the aging outdoor structures.
Based on the consultant’s findings, and in consultation with the facilities management and building divisions, the grandstand was deemed unsafe for structural reasons and subsequently closed for access including public use.
The rubberized track, which was last repaired in 2007, was also showing signs of deterioration, causing the school boards to relocate their spring competitions to other tracks in the community.
In spite of these issues, the majority of the regular programming continued throughout the 2011 season and into the current 2012 season with the temporary relocation of power, field lighting, and the use of portable washrooms and portable trailers.
“The grandstand’s capacity for seating of 3,000 is greater than the programming needs,” said Kim Kugler, the city’s director of enterprises. “The majority of the events that require seating usually draw 100 to 200 people. Portable bleachers could be rented for special events requiring the additional seating.”
Repairing the current grandstand facility has been estimated in excess of $1.2 million, whereas removal of the grandstand structure has been estimated at $200,000 plus relocates and permits.
“I am also sad to see the grandstand come down, as I have great memories of watching fireworks at the stadium when I was a child,” said Coun. Scott Davey. “But unfortunately, I don’t see a desire or a need for that part of the facility that can’t be replaced by portable bleachers.”
The city will continue to work with user groups and the broader community to determine the long-term needs and costing for Centennial Stadium and Jack Couch Park components, other than the existing grandstand, and what funding sources are available.
The city will also engage in discussions with the Region of Waterloo on exploring the concept of developing a higher level of track and field facility in the area.