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Latest on the new twin-pad arena

City committee allows minor cheats on size of back yard and north side yard

The $28-million replacement for Sault Ste. Marie’s W.J. McMeeken Centre cleared a 13.6-metre legal hurdle on Wednesday.

The project was approved by City Council on May 31, when Sault MPP Ross Romano and Laurie Scott, provincial infrastructure minister, announced $18 million in unexpected windfall financing covering both the desired federal and provincial contributions. 

But the city's zoning bylaw requires the building's exterior walls to be at least 30 metres from any of the lot lines at 616 Goulais Ave.

The distance to the property's north lot line is 28 metres – two metres short.

The distance to the rear boundary is just 16.4 metres – 13.6 metres less than the minimum.

The city's five-member committee of adjustment is authorized to allow minor variances from zoning bylaw requirements.

After reviewing maps and construction plans on Wednesday, the committee decided 13.6-metre difference was indeed a minor matter and green-lit the project.

Low bidder on the project is Ellis-Don Corp., builder of Sault Area Hospital, Sault College's campus redevelopment and other local projects.

The new twin-pad arena is expected to open in September, 2022.

The seriously down-at-the-heels W.J. McMeeken Centre will remain open until then, and demolished afterward.