Hamilton, ON officials are considering repairs to FirstOntario Centre, with millions in potential upgrades discussed for the venue.
FirstOntario Centre originally as Copps Coliseum in 1985, and its condition has become a point of discussion. While the city could eventually move forward with taking a long-term look at either replacing or significantly renovating the venue, a more immediate concern could be the condition of several areas of the arena.
City officials have been discussing whether to allocate funds to replace FirstOntario Centre’s elevators and escalators, as well as repairs on exterior walls at the Hamilton Convention Centre. No final decision has been made on the upgrades, but officials are estimating that the projects could cost in the millions. More from The Hamilton Spectator:
City facilities managers recommend spending $2 million to fix exterior walls next year on the convention centre and another $4.3 million replacing escalators and elevators at the former Copps Coliseum.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger said council should explore long-term future options for the trio of aging downtown entertainment facilities that also include Hamilton Place.
“But in the meantime, at a minimum, it’s got to be safe,” he said in a public session that followed the closed-door meeting. “We have to make sure we look after those liability issues and functionality issues.”
A public city report emphasizes there is no immediate danger to the public from falling bricks at the convention centre — but it also advises immediate action to avoid “further structural deterioration and potential facility closure.”
FirstOntario Centre is currently home to the Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL). Though no formal proposal has surfaced to this point, Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer recently raised the possibility of replacing the arena with a more intimate and more modern venue. Originally built with NHL ambitions in mind, FirstOntario Centre features a seating capacity of 17,383.
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