Kimberley City Council discusses relevancy of having two arenas

$3 million in project funding is required for both Marysville Arena and the Civic Centre

The City of Kimberley’s 2018-2022 Capital Plan, as proposed, anticipates the receipt of grants and/or the acquisition of debt to fund a portion of seven different major projects.

The projects include: Civic Centre pad and board replacement, Marysville Arena both frame and siding and pad and board replacement, the new Wastewater Treatment Facility, and three separate Downtown Projects, one that includes daylighting Kimberley Creek.

At a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, Nov. 6, City Chief Financial Officer Jim Hendricks outlined the projects and the funds required to complete them.

Hendricks says that if one or some of the projects are deemed by Council to be a priority, other projects can be cancelled or deferred to allow the priority projects to proceed.

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Council discussed the three Arena projects at length; whether they could be completed in the off season or not and the immanency of all three.

Hendricks says that the work could be done during the arena’s shut down period, but he is unsure about the urgency of the projects.

“My understanding is that it can be done during shut down period; it wouldn’t affect the ice users at all,” Hendricks explained. “With regards to urgency of the [Civic Centre] project, to my knowledge, we’ve never had a review of that facility to indicate the urgency. Speaking with former Director of Operations, Mike Fox, he couldn’t really tell me whether it needed to be done this year, next year or the year after that. There have been comments about the boards in that facility; that new boards are better and result in less injury to players.”

Councillor Darryl Oakley then asked if there were any tests that could be done to indicate how close they are to needing imminent replacement.

Hendricks says some of the water lines at the Civic Centre have been repaired, but their location close to the boards makes it less of an issue.

“If there was a broken line at centre ice in the middle of winter, in all likelihood it would end the season,” said Hendricks.

Mayor Don McCormick says the City has made a major commitment to the Civic Centre already, for example, the north wall project, new lighting and upgraded dressing rooms. He says that being proactive in terms of completing these projects is the best way to move forward.

“I think the risk [we take] is waiting until something breaks and it shuts a season down. I don’t think we want to do that,” said McCormick.

Councillor Nigel Kitto says it’s hard to justify having two arenas in “such a small town”.

“I think we need to have that conversation again, maybe, in the future or consider it as a referendum question as well, whether we want to keep pouring millions of dollars into two arenas in town,” said Kitto.

The proposed 2018-2022 Financial Plan includes $3 million dollars in required funds for upgrading both arenas.

“There’s two projects on here for the Marysville Arena, and I know we’ve discussed over and over, can we afford two arenas? There’s two projects on here for a lot of money,” said Councillor Bev Middlebrook.

McCormick pointed out that Council and City staff will have the opportunity to adjust the timelines as circumstances change.

Oakley says the reality is, Kimberley has two arenas.

“We have put millions into them [the arenas] already. They’re our community facilities and I just can’t imagine doing anything dramatic. We have to keep going forward and I just don’t think we have a choice,” said Oakley.

Kitto pointed out that the community could decide whether it’s relevant to have two arenas or not through a referendum in the next municipal election, “I don’t think it’s for us at this table to decide. Quite frankly I don’t think it’s the whole community that uses both of those facilities.”

Councillor Albert Hoglund responded by saying both arenas are utilized well, “iIt’s not just Kimberley people that use those arenas. They’re well used. They’re well looked after. They’re used twelve months of the year.”

The key is to quantify the usage of both facilities, says McCormick.

“Over the last three years in particular, especially with the advent of the Kimberley Academy, the amount of usage on both our ice surfaces has got to the point where if we took one out, it doesn’t matter which one, but if we only had a single ice surface it would be a substantial loss in usage,” said McCormick. “Where as five years ago, I don’t think that was the case. This last census our population grew by [approximately] 725 people…The dynamic is changing on how we utilize the two facilities.”

Hendricks says that none of the funds for any of the seven projects are confirmed and that if funding doesn’t come through, the projects will change.

Councillor Kent Goodwin says he would feel more comfortable with deferring a project for a year to wait for grant funding.

“At this point,” said Goodwin, “I would like to stick with what we’ve got here and hope that the CDT Recreational Infrastructure fund comes back on line, or something like that, to allow us to do it. If we have to defer the Civic Centre one more year, we can defer it and see what comes up.”

Council will vote on the 2018-2022 Financial PlanBylaw at a future Council Meeting.

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