The city-owned Pepsi Centre will have a major tenant again in the fall when the Royals senior hockey team returns to play there, and much of the credit can go to city council for that positive turn.
Council was determined to craft a deal that would make it financially acceptable for the team to return from two years in Deer Lake where it was welcomed with open arms by a community that saw the value of having a winter of sporting activity in their town.
The city is also about to again take over running the facility from Memorial University and that should open more opportunities.
The building — constructed for the 1999 Canada Winter Games — was intended to be a centrepiece for attracting all manner of events to the city and contributing to improving the lifestyles of residents all over the west coast.
That hasn’t happened in more than a decade since it was opened.
Too often, the building sits nearly empty and contributing little to the area.
Few if any taxpayers at the time it was planned expected that the centre would operate without some subsidy ... but the cost has risen almost yearly and little progress has been made toward using it at it’s intended capacity.
Council now has it in their hands to change that woeful record and turn the facility into one that is the place in the whole region to gather for sporting events, concerts, conventions, meetings and just good old exercise and recreation.
It’s time to turn the page on the past and turn the facility into more than a money pit.