Bringing down the Civic

It may be up to a new city council to bring down Vernon's 80-year-old Civic Arena.

Earlier this month, council decided to knock down the old arena after receiving reports that indicated repurposing the 80-year-old building would be technically challenging and cost an estimated $11 to 12 million.

During budget deliberations this week, council was informed once again that the cost of putting the building to the wrecking ball was an estimated $1 million.

No money was put aside in the 2018 budget to knock the building down, said Will Pearce, the City of Vernon's chief executive officer.

However he added: “We would like to see it demolished as soon as reasonably possible after we commission the new arena.”

Construction of the new arena is on schedule.

“Right now, our schedule is to open the new arena on Sept. 1 (2018) so that we don't have to put ice in the Civic Arena. Anytime after that, we can demolish the Civic Arena. The earlier, frankly, we demolish the Civic Arena, the less liability there is or cost either to maintain it as an empty building, heated or otherwise, and to protect it from damage or vandalism.”

However, Mayor Akbal Mund is wary of making such a big financial decision just before a municipal election in October 2018.

“It could come out of reserves,” Mund said when asked about the big cost of demolition. “That may be for another council, the actual taking down of the building ... That demolition may happen in December (2018) which means mid-October there will be a new council sitting here so that could be a decision of that new council.”

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