The City of Kimberley announced Thursday that the Marysville Arena will be re-opening its doors to the public on Friday, Jan. 20.
The arena closed to the public in March of 2020 due to COVID, and closed again on Jan. 31, 2022 due to staffing issues resulting from the pandemic.
It was also closed to the City of Kimberley staff and the public from August to December of 2022 to allow for asbestos abatement work.
The arena began as an open-air ice surface, with Marysville Arena then built and first put into service in 1974.
Since then, Council and the people of Kimberley have had to make a lot of decisions as to the building’s upkeep and its future.
Since 2014 $686,684 of capital investment has gone into the arena.
A Building Condition Assessment for both of Kimberley’s arenas presented to Council on Dec. 7, 2022 shows that the building needs another $2,697,660 invested.
In 2013 a new mechanical building was constructed to house the ice plant. This was necessary, otherwise the BC Safety Authority Boiler Inspector would not have issued another variance to continue operation at the arena.
In 2014, Kimberley City Council approved the expenditure of $350,000 in the budget to replace the ice plant, following impassioned debates, presentations from delegations from Kimberley Minor Hockey and the North Star Figure Skating Club and a petition with over 1600 signatures to keep the arena open.
In 2021, Council and City removed capital items related to the Marysville Arena from year three of their five year financial plan, specifically $1.2 million to replace pads and boards, $150,000 to replace the roof and $200,000to replace the siding
Last year two city councillors at the time voiced their opinions that the City should not pour any more money into the building, however Mayor Don McCormick pointed out that Kimberley needs a second ice surface and a new arena wasn’t a possibility in the immediate future, so Marysville Arena needed to stay open for at least another season.
Ultimately it was decided that regardless of the long-term future of the building, asbestos abatement work would need to be conducted. According to WorkSafeBC regulations, City Staff would not be permitted to enter the building until it was completed.
According to the City, the latest figures for the asbestos abatement project total $104,238.
The original date of re-opening was Jan. 3, but some delays with the abatement work pushed that back, but now it is complete and ice is in.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked through the many issues at the arena,” said Nicole Halasz, Manager of Parks and Facilities.
“We know it was tough for many users in Kimberley to take, but the work was necessary in order for us to be able to let the staff and public back in the building. This is one of the largest asbestos abatement projects that our contractor had ever seen. It was not an easy job. I’m happy to report the work is complete and the arena is open.”
A hockey tournament is set to begin on Friday, Jan. 20. The City of Kimberley said all other user groups will be contacted about their scheduled ice time soon.
The public is welcomed to the arena on Sunday, Jan. 29 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with that public skating timeslot to remain in place for the duration of winter.