The arena, which has long been largely out of commission, has been an issue for successive mayors and councils. The cost to repair the building and return it to working order is around $4.5 million, according to a 2018 evaluation. This doesn’t take into account ever-rising construction costs and the lack of maintenance on the building since the evaluation.
Supporters of the arena’s renewal say the space is necessary for a growing community in need of a space for sports, events and community gatherings. Jean-Marc Lalonde, former mayor of Rockland and the arena’s namesake, petitioned mayoral and councillor candidates during the October election to consider saving the arena, even it meant it no longer carried his name.
Mayor Mario Zanth hopes the task force will take into consideration a wide range of opinions and expertise to evaluate the arena’s future.
“We’re going to get some people around the table and discuss what the needs of the communities are, and how we can best serve that,” said Zanth. “The task force is there to bring up all options.”
Zanth reiterates the task force won’t be the final arbiter of any decisions, but will be part of a solution encompassing building analyses, grant availability and needs assessments. He wants to ensure any decision doesn’t just consider the needs of hockey players and other sporting activities, but looks to support other leisure activities around the city.