The man who lobbied and fundraised for the construction of Trafalgar Centre in Nelson says only minor repairs are needed to make it earthquake-safe.
Engineering and legal reports over fears of liquefaction in the event of a quake led to the sudden closure of the centre last week.
The city council is debating whether to shut the events centre down permanently and on Thursday heard a call from Brian Mills for maximum community participation.
Mayor Rachel Reese said the council had no choice, as the safety of the community has to come first.
But Mr Mills said he wants to see the building strengthened and many people do not understand why it has been closed.
Others to address the council agreed, and said improving the structure of the building to enable it to reopen would be the right choice.
A final decision is expected early next year.
The Trafalgar Centre is the largest indoor multi-purpose events centre in the Nelson-Tasman Region.
Built in the early 1970s as a sports stadium, it also hosts major cultural and entertainment events and exhibitions. As well as the main stadium, it features the Victory Room - a popular venue for smaller events.