BELLEVILLE – QNetNews has been out in the community talking to Belleville residents about what they think the city should do with the Yardmen Arena. It’s part of our ongoing Municipal Election Project.
The Yardmen Arena is home to the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Belleville is the only OHL city that has not replaced or substantially upgraded its original facility. City council has approved minor upgrades now and delayed major overhaul until at least 2017. That despite claims by arena staff that the ice is bad enough that the Bulls may have to play their home games elsewhere if there is a rink-related failure this season.
Bulls’ owner Gord Simmons has said ownership will be enthusiastic partners with the city if and when develops concrete plans for a new rink or renovations happen. Simmonds told QNet News earlier this year that a change in the arena would be needed for the Bulls to stay in the city long-term. The team’s current contract with the city expires in 2015, although it has an extension option that would run until 2017.
We asked residents three questions about the Yardmen Arena and combined their answers to each question.
Q: What should the city do about the facility?
Q: Should the city have approved minor upgrades now and delayed a major overhaul to the facility until later?
Q: What do the Bulls bring to Belleville? How important is it to the city that they remain here?