November 24, 2015 - 10:30 AM
VERNON - A number of businesses, sports groups and community members came out to show their support for a new arena in Vernon.
Representatives from the Vernon Vipers, Greater Vernon Minor Hockey, the Vernon Figure Skating Club, the Prestige Hotel, Super 8 and Village Green, among others, came together at a news conference Monday, Nov. 23, to encourage citizens to vote yes in this Saturday’s referendum to decommission Civic Arena and build a new ice sheet at Kal Tire Place for up to $13.2 million.
Cameron Grant, spokesperson for the arena advocacy group, said the aging Civic Arena cannot be repaired for less money than building a whole new rink.
“The cost of the new rink is minute. For the average taxpayer, it will cost about three dollars per month. If you put that into context of something like one coffee per month, you could have a brand new rink,” Grant said.
He emphasized the proposal is not really for a new rink, but for a replacement rink for one that is falling apart.
Vernon Vipers president and owner Duncan Ray said having two ice sheets at Kal Tire Place could attract tournaments, such as the B.C. Hockey League Showcase.
“The Civic Arena has served us very well but it has reached the end of its lifespan in my estimation,” Wray said.
Proponents also spoke of the widespread economic impact, not just the benefit to local sports groups. Janna Maderyc, the Village Green Hotel’s marketing director, said the hotel strongly supports a yes vote.
“In winter this town is known to have a downslide in occupancy and people coming to the area compared to the summer. This is what keeps us thriving as a business and allows us to avoid layoffs come the slow season,” Maderyc said.
As a mother, she added recreational opportunities are extremely important for the youth in the community.
“We need to keep these kids in sports, keep them out of trouble, entertain them and get them off tablets, engaging in social activity so they have the skills when they’re older to continue thriving in life,” she said.
General voting day for the referendum is Saturday, Nov. 28. Advance voting takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015