Penticton about to lose $6 million grant intended for new arenas - InfoNews

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Penticton about to lose $6 million grant intended for new arenas

City staff are recommending the return of a $6 million UBCM grant after Penticton failed to complete financial plans for the city's arenas.
March 15, 2019 - 3:30 PM

PENTICTON - The City of Penticton won’t be able to keep $6 million in grant funding towards its future plan for upgrades at the two arenas.

Staff will be recommending the return of the $6 million strategic priorities fund grant to the Union of B.C. Municipalities by March 31 after conditions to obtain the grant failed to be met. Council will then have to decide how long it wants to keep the aging Memorial and McLaren arenas viable.

A staff report prepared for council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, March 19, says grant administrators were skeptical about the City’s ability to fund its plans to decommission McLaren Arena, turn Memorial Arena into a dry surface facility and build two new ice sheets at the South Okanagan Events Centre when they placed a condition on the grant to confirm all funding sources by March 31, 2019.

City staff attempted to get an extension on the condition but were denied, and concluded since due diligence for the project is not complete it would be “irresponsible” to make budgetary decisions without a detailed funding strategy that is understood and supported by the community, the report says.

The issue of what to do about the arenas began in 2014 following a building condition assessment that identified McLaren and Memorial arenas as past their prime, with significant investment needed to keep them operating. The Arena Task Force was set up in January, 2017 to look at possible future options and conduct feasibility studies.

The task force engaged in community discussion and eventually came up with five possible scenarios, eventually deciding to make minimal repairs to the arenas to keep them viable for the next several years until a new twin-pad ice surface could be built at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Council endorsed the option at the July 25, 2017 council meeting, after which staff successfully applied for the $6 million grant.

Staff are also recommending two possible options regarding 10- and 20-year repair options for McLaren and Memorial arenas at Tuesday’s meeting.

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