Prince Albert, Sask., Mayor Greg Dionne calls the new arena project the biggest in the city’s history.
“This recreation centre is an important project for Prince Albert and will represent the single largest recreation-based development in the history of our city,” Dionne said.
Currently in the design phase, the new multi-purpose arena project would be part of a new entertainment and business district.
According to the City of Prince Albert’s website, phase one consists of the design and construction of the new Aquatic and Arenas Recreation Centre. Phase two would see the construction of the entertainment centre featuring a large arena. Phase three includes a convention centre and library branch.
The Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League (WHL) would move from their current home at the Art Hauser Centre to the new facility, along with many other sports and hockey teams in the northern Saskatchewan city.
A spokesperson for the Raiders said it will be amazing to be part of such a big project that the city is currently progressing through. They hope the energy from the fans will transfer to the new building.
“We hope we don’t lose the atmosphere in what the Hauser brings,” said Raiders’ business manager Michael Scissons.
“We just can’t wait to be a part of the expansion in the entertainment district in Prince Albert.”
The Hauser Centre was built in 1971 and renovated in 2006. It has a seating capacity of 2,500, which climbs over 3,000 with standing room during playoff games.
“The rink certainly comes with some restrictions due to its size,’ said Jody Boulet, director of community services for the city.
“As we continue to work with the WHL, there are new standards that do come out that require the Raiders to revisit and the City of P.A.”
A news release from the City of Prince Albert website says, “The 18 acres recommended for purchase is part of an 80-acre parcel owned by Prince Albert-based Signature Development Corporation. The entire 80-acre parcel will be developed and serviced for future commercial development.”
The release adds, “this parcel of land is proposed to be the site of a new Aquatics and Arena’s recreation centre which will include two 68,000 square foot hockey rinks (seating 800 people each) and a 47,000 square foot aquatic centre.”
The new hockey rink would seat 4,500 fans and would be located down the street from the Hauser Centre.
“You are going to get accommodations, restaurants, and retail that will be there in addition to the rec complex,” Boulet said.
“(It) creates a real synergy and exciting event hosting opportunity for provincial, national, and hopefully international events.”
The provincial and federal governments are covering $44 million of the $60 million development after an application through the Canada Infrastructure Program was approved. The city is covering the remaining $16 million.
Boulet adds that the designs for the arena are over 30 per cent complete and should be done by the end of the year. Construction would begin after an accepted tender with the project being completed by the end of 2023 with no hiccups.