Salmon Arm  

Sports groups heading to city council meeting to discuss arena closure

Arena closure fight heats up

The fight over the winter closure of the SASCU Indoor Memorial Arena in Salmon Arm is not over yet.

The city announced on Nov. 24 it would be closing the arena as soon as the first snowfall, citing concerns from a preliminary engineering report that the roof might not be structurally sound if under a significant snow load.

This announcement led to a public outcry from user groups who felt there were better options to deal with the snow rather than fully closing the arena.

Many sports groups using the facility had already started their winter usage, and argued the costs associated with canceling their seasons could present serious financial hardships for these community-run groups.

Rachel Cook from Salmon Arm Soccer is scheduled to give a presentation on behalf of arena user groups at the Salmon Arm city council meeting on Monday, Dec. 11.

The presentation will involve possible options for heating the arena in order to manage snow on the roof.

In a letter to council, Jay Ursulak from Salmon Arm Soccer suggested using the arena’s existing natural gas heaters.

“They may need some reconditioning or servicing. Multiple HVAC companies have offered to do this work," Ursulak said.

He added another company had offered to assess the heaters to determine the viability of using them to heat up the building.

Other options proposed in the letter included using temporary construction heaters, or renting frost-fighter diesel powered heaters.

The user groups acknowledge heating the arena would be an additional cost to the city, but they said they believe it's a manageable cost.

“A quick estimation of rentals this fall indicates that approximately $3,000 per week comes from Memorial Arena rentals. This income, coupled with potential support from user groups, could cover the additional costs incurred with heating the building," Ursulak said.

The letter also acknowledged council will need to hear back from the commissioned engineering report before they know if the 65-year-old arena is still fit for future use.

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