The recently decommissioned Cobourg Memorial Arena could become a multi-purpose events facility if local promoter Derek Sharp has his proposal considered. His company, Northumberland Pro Wrestling, and their parent company, Top Prize Events, have put forward a repurposing proposal to the Town of Cobourg to renovate the facility as needed to make the change a reality.
The facility was decommissioned for ice sports due to the high costs the town would have incurred to maintain it.
Sharp believes that the proposal that he and his business partner in Top Prize Events, Lionel Poizner, have put forward is a good one for everyone involved. “We have done our best to put forward a plan that is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” says Sharp. “Our proposal would see us manage all aspects of maintenance, marketing, and staffing for the facility, and the town just collects the lion’s share of the rentals while we do the work. We believe this is a tremendous opportunity for the town, for us, and for the people of Cobourg and Northumberland as a whole.”
With regard to the high costs to renovate the arena and upgrade it to accessibility standards, Sharp would not go into details, but said, “Part of our plan is an aggressive fundraising program that everyone in Northumberland, especially business owners, will want to be involved in.”
Sharp acknowledged that the process is in the early stages, but says the town has received and is considering the proposal. “I received an email that the town’s committee is going to consider it and get back to me, but it’s my understanding that council hasn’t even set the parameters for the committee to consider yet; so it’s very early and negotiations haven’t even really started yet. Our hope is that the town sees the value in our plan, and will be aggressive in getting things moving so that we can coordinate the arena’s grand reopening for around the time that Ontario is completely reopened from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Sharp started Northumberland Pro Wrestling in December, 2019 at the Cobourg Community Centre, but believes that wrestling in particular would thrive in the venue. “Pro wrestling is, and always has been, best suited to an arena environment. Cobourg Memorial Arena has a long history with pro wrestling, dating back to events that ran there in the 1950’s. So in addition to a whole variety of other event uses, we think pro wrestling is a terrific fit.”