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Multiplex committee at a ‘crossroads’

By Lindsay Briscoe

A group of individuals working to get a new local multiplex off the ground provided an update to council last week on the recent research they’ve been conducting on building site selection.

“For the last few months our meetings have been focused on coming up with an objective process to choose a location within the Municipality of Red Lake,” said committee member Dave Lamme.

The committee is using Virden, Manitoba – which has a population and demographic similar to Red Lake and which built a new multiplex in 2011 – as the foundation of its current site selection research. At 101,000 square feet, Virden’s multiplex required approximately 5.76 useable acres of land.

The multiplex committee has identified nine locations with enough space for a building of that size and processed their eligibility using a Site Selection Criteria and Evaluation formula.

“We’re hoping that it does take the personal opinions out and leaves more of a numbers-based criteria so when the community says ‘Why did you pick that?’ or ‘Why didn’t you put it here?’ then we can go and we have back-up information and mathematical calculations that say why,” says committee member Kevin Harland.

Based on a number of different factors related to accessibility, proximity, services, noise and the environment, the top three scoring sites were all located in the highway commercial area on highway 105, while the site located on Highway 105, South of Red Lake near the storage lockers, scored the lowest.

Mayor Phil Vinet said he was pleased with the work the multiplex committee has conducted thus far and said choosing a Manitoba community as the foundation of its research was an appropriate because Red Lake is both geographically and culturally more similar to Manitoba than the rest of Ontario.

He also praised the multiplex committee for valuing sustainability – what he calls one of the most ‘critical issues’ to the area.

Up until this point, all the research conducted by the multiplex committee has been done at zero cost but, as Lamme says, moving forward will mean narrowing down the potential sites and testing the land which will come with a price tag attached. Having conducted much of the ‘back-end work’ already, Harland says the multiplex committee will be in a good position once it’s ready to move forward with fundraising efforts.

The multiplex committee plans to send its site selection research to the Recreation Committee for review and council is expected to provide direction as to how to move forward after next Monday’s council meeting.

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