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REPORTING · 11th March 2011
Walter McFarlane
Jack Oviatt and Allen Hewitson took the stand at the City Council Meeting on February 21st to ask Council to do something about the sound system in Tamitik. Oviatt went first and Hewitson went second.

“I’m here tonight representing the Kitimat Snowflake Communtiy Fairgrounds Society and we announced that for one more year, for sure, we’re going to host the Kitimat Bull-O-Rama. It’s become a great fundraiser for all the groups that help us out and especially for our group and there is a lot of dollars put back into the community every year because of this event. A large portion of the proceeds this year will be going to the newly formed Kitimat General Hospital Foundation,” said Oviatt.

He stated the sound system in the Tamitk arena was not up to standards. 20% of the people the first year were able to hear what was being said.

“For us, that was a disaster. We hired one of the best rodeo announcers in Western Canada and the information he had to share at that event was a major part of the experience. Our Barrel man was unable to communicate with the announcer or the crowd, our half time show was incomplete because of the PA system,” said Oviatt.

The next year, they installed 16 portable speakers taking a lot of money out of the budget. While it was an improvement, it was no where near what they were hoping for. Last week, he invited Council to a Demons game so they could hear how poor the sound system was. He asked Council to repair the aging sound system in the arena and have the repairs complete before the event.

He announced the Snow Flake Community Fair Grounds is willing to contribute 1/3 of the cost if Council is willing to let the Bull-O-Rama have free use of the arena for that night as they have for the past two years and the repairs are done before June.

Councillor Corrine Scott wanted to know if this would be a repair or a replacement. Oviatt replied there are two blown speakers at the moment. He said a partial repair was done a few years ago but there were still repairs which needed to be done. He said he spoke to the group that did the original repairs and they estimated it would cost $25,000 for repairs.

Councillor Randy Halyk said he had been to a number of different venues and many similar to Kitimat have curtains hanging in the rafters and he was told this helps to adjust the sound. He thought it was an inexpensive way to go. Oviatt replied the acoustics are fine.

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know if the $25,000 quote was from a professional company. Oviatt stated they did the arena repairs three years ago and the Riverlodge sound system.

Hewitson got up to support Oviatt. “I believe this is the same system that was installed when I attended the opening of the Tamitik Arena in 1980,” said Hewitson. “I realize that when tested in an empty arena, this sound system appears to work extremely well. But when you add 1000 screaming, holloring hockey fans or you add a noisy group watching a rodeo show, a lot of that sound is absorbed and a lot of it is contested by the people in the crowd and the announcers have a great deal of difficulty picking the right moment to make an announcement which is easily heard and understood in a big crowd.”

He thanked the District on behalf of the Demons for letting them play in one of the most modern facilities in the Northwest. The complaint they hear from their supporters is they are unable to hear the goal scorers. He asked them to improve the communication between the scorekeeping box and the press box.

He also thanked the Council and the Recreation Department for all the help over the last 9 years. There were no questions so Hewitson sat down and the meeting continued.

During the budget process, Council approved the money to repair the sound system although they were advised not to accept the money offered to help cover the cost. Feldhoff made a motion to have 1/3 of the money come from a donation but the motion was defeated unanomously