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Input needed on new ice

Vernon's Civic Arena is over 80-years-old and in a state of disrepair.

In an attempt to bring back the arena to its former glory, a feasibility study was conducted by the city that determined the old building may not be worth fixing.

“It indicated that there would be a considerable amount of work and cost involved in upgrading that facility, the price tag was $5.6 million,” explains Director of Recreation Services for the City of Vernon, Doug Ross.

“And when the renovations were done you would still have an 80-year-old building.”

In response, the city worked with Vernon's Mayor and council to fund a feasibility study to look at options for creating a new arena or replacing the sheet of ice somewhere else in town.

The options being considered include twinning Kal Tire Place to the north and west, twinning the Priest Valley Arena to the west and east, and a stand-alone option that would mean building a new arena.

Ross says if the entirely new facility was chosen it would be built and opened before the old Civic Arena would be decommissioned.

The cost of the three options being presented to the public in a open house next week are currently unknown as Ross says the feasibility study needs all the components before determining a number.

“We are taking a look at what the community would need in terms of the facility and what the facility would look like and what it would include and then looking at the costs of constructing and operating it,” says Ross.

He says once they have all the pieces they will compare all of the different options, compare that against the study done for the civic arena and determine what the most feasible option is.

The public is being asked to come and see the conceptual plans and give their input before the feasibility study is completed.

“We are encouraging user groups to come out and meet with city and project staff and then after we have heard what the public has to say then we will look at incorporating some of the more viable options into the designs,” says Ross.

After the open house, the completed feasibility study will be presented on June 25 to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

Based on the results of that study elected officials will decide what option to go with and then head to the public to approve funding.

If you are interested in attending the open house, the City of Vernon Recreation Services and MQN Architects are hosting it in the Grand Room at Kal Tire Place on Wednesday, May 28 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The open house is for facility user groups — both ice users and dry floor renters — and any interested citizens from the greater Vernon area, including Vernon, Coldstream, BX and Swan Lake.

The event will start with a 30-minute walkthrough and presentation of the preliminary plans before opening the floor for questions and discussion.

Groups or individuals interested in attending the open house are asked to RSVP to City of Vernon Recreation Services by calling 250-550-3257 or emailing abookings@vernon.ca[email protected]

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