City of Markham votes to evaluate funding plan for new arena Staff

4/20/2012 9:03:45 PM

The prospect of a second NHL-style arena in the Toronto area took a step closer to becoming reality on Friday.

A special committee of the City of Markham voted unanimously to bring forward a funding proposal for the new arena to a full council meeting next Thursday night.

The proposed arena would be constructed at Highway 407 and Kennedy Road, beside the Unionville GO Station. The building would seat around 20,000, with the cost expected to exceed $300 million.

"It's a work in progress and we've been at this for the better part of a year and a half trying to make this an exciting opportunity for not just Markham, but the whole of the Greater Toronto Area if it gets built," said Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti on TSN Radio 1050 on Friday.

The arena plan doesn't depend on an NHL team coming to Markham, but once built it would rival the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto as a venue for sporting and entertainment events.

"We know that there is a pent-up demand in the GTA," explained Scarpitti. "There are not enough nights available for concerts, cultural events and special events with the facilities that are available in the Greater Toronto Area. This would allow for more of those types of activities."

CP24 television in Toronto reported that if the proposal is approved next week, construction could be completed as early as 2014.