Keeping the Civic Arena running won't come cheap

Vernon's Civic Arena will see $75,000 worth of repairs to keep it running until a replacement ice sheet is built.

VERNON - It will cost the City of Vernon $75,000 in repairs alone to keep the Civic Arena running until a replacement ice sheet is built.

City representatives had little choice but to provide the money for arena upgrades at a council meeting Tuesday. A referendum on decommissioning Civic Arena and borrowing funds for an additional ice sheet at Kal Tire Place is on hold due to a ruling by the Inspector of Municipalities, but Mayor Rob Sawatzky says the repairs would have been needed regardless. 

“The referendum in November would not have dealt with a new sheet in time to avoid this anyway,” Sawatzky said.

An engineering report recommended major maintenance work be carried out to keep the facility running for the next two to five years. The 77-year-old building isn’t energy efficient and already costs a lot to operate.

“We’re only doing needed repairs,” Sawatzky said.

It’s expected Civic Arena will be needed until at least the spring of 2017. In a staff report, Doug Ross, the city’s director of recreation services, reminded council even if the repairs are completed, the arena could suffer a major system failure. The engineering review noted the prospect of imminent failure is possible.

Roughly 40 per cent of ice-time users depend on Civic Arena. If it failed, Vernon could not accommodate them with its existing facilities.

Greater Vernon officials are considering asking sports minister Coralee Oakes to overturn the Inspector of Municipality’s ruling on the referendum.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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