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County eyeing multi-use convention centre for Sarnia area

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Troy Shantz

Lambton County is looking into the feasibility of building a multi-use convention centre to boost tourism in the Sarnia area.

“When you look around us, those cities and communities that are looking for extra tourist dollars — a real solid boost to the economy — most of them have some type of convention centre,” said St. Clair Township mayor Steve Arnold, who is spearheading the concept.

County council directed staff last week to prepare a report exploring first steps for a multi-use convention centre near the Highway 402 corridor in Point Edward or Sarnia.

It will collect data on three potential locations, three size options and estimated costs.

The financing of such a facility could be private or public, Arnold said.

“There are all kinds of different ways you can approach this, but we need to start somewhere, so this is the starting point.”

A convention centre equipped to host several hundred delegates or more would be a tremendous asset for Sarnia-Lambton, he added, noting a recent county conference used the Oakwood Resort, located just outside Grand Bend in Huron County.

Arnold said he has spoken with officials in Michigan who have said they would use such a border facility.

“They don’t want to go a long way from home. When you look at that, it’s an ideal location,” he said.

County staff was also directed to include in the options a room that could house local historical discoveries from First Nations and early European settlers.

The staff report doesn’t have a deadline, said Arnold, who added, “I imagine we’ll see something within six months.”

 

 

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