Grant for Memorial work

The City of Penticton is looking for a bit of help from the federal government and the Union of B.C. Municipalities for funding repairs or replacement of the Memorial Arena.

Staffers proposed the city apply for funding through the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) to help foot the bill of the arena, which is facing serious structural issues that, according to city staff, will require either replacement or repairs.

The Arena Task Force, formed earlier this year, hasn't made a recommendation as of yet, whether the city should repair or replace Memorial Arena, but the group has suggested that council fund part of that through the SPF, which is put on through an agreement between the UBCM and federal government.

Through federal gas taxes, the UBCM gets $30 million annually to fund infrastructure projects throughout the province, typically either large in size or regional in impact, with each grant providing up to $6 million toward an infrastructure project. 

How far that would go for the Memorial project depends on which route the city takes, with repairs expected to cost as low as $7 million and replacement as high as $16 million.

That high cost is part of the reasoning behind city staff suggesting the project for the SPF. The city has also considered other projects, like improving traffic flow systems at Kinney Ave. and Main St. at a cost of around $3-5 million, with $1.5 million being land acquisition, which isn't covered by the project.

The city also looked at creek naturalization, Main Street infrastructure replacement and bike lane creation, and an underground infrastructure replacement project, among others, all of which were estimated to cost under or around the $6-million mark.

"Staff felt that the most appropriate project to advance for a grant is to upgrade or replace Memorial Arena," infrastructure manager Mitch Moroziuk told council. "The Memorial project is the most advanced of the projects that we have spoken to you about."

Moroziuk also added that the high cost of the arena would "allow the city to maximize access to grant money."

The remainder of the money for the Memorial Arena project would likely be paid for through the city's reserves.

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