VERNON, B.C. – The City of Vernon operates one of the oldest arenas in the province of B.C.
When the Civic Arena was built in 1938, it was the first indoor rink in the Okanagan. But its age is quickly becoming a financial liability for the City which is now looking to replace it.
Replacing the current ice surface on 37th Avenue, which is smaller than standard ice sheets, would cost $5.6 million, according to Vernon Recreation Services Manager Doug Ross.
The pipes under the current ice could fail any day, which would require a $1.5 million fix that would only last up to two years.
The Regional District of the North Okanagan is looking at three options, issuing a Requests for Proposals Thursday. The RDNO are looking for a consultant to perform a $100,000 feasibility study.
“The option of twinning one of our existing facilities, either the Priest Valley Arena or Kal Tire Place, or the possibility of a standalone facility,” says Ross of the three possible solutions.
Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky says the City has known for some time that imminent failure could happen any day.
“That’s 40 per cent of our ice time, so it’s really important that we put in place a plan to deal with it before it becomes a failure and disaster,” says Sawatzky.
An expensive repair may still be required to the Civic Arena, as replacing it will still take two years if voters approve lending at a referendum. That vote, if approved by the Regional District, could take place with the civic elections in November.
If the option of rebuilding the Civic Arena is the choice of the Regional District, the facility would have to find a new home.