Kimberley City Council waded through a very heavy agenda at their regular meeting on June 27, 2022.
One item that came up was a vote on spending an additional $18,000 on mitigating some asbestos that was found in the Marysville Arena.
This evolved into a discussion on the lifespan of the arena itself, with two councillors making the point that spending more money on the aging facility was not sensible.
However, those who do use the arena will be happy to learn that council has voted to operate Marysville Arena next season.
Manager of Parks and Facilities, Nicole Halasz, had told Council earlier in the meeting that her department will be looking for community feedback on a long term master plan for recreation facilities in the city.
However the particular request of some $18,000 was needed to complete abatement of asbestos found in the concrete block masonry blocks in the washrooms. A facilities assessment on the arena had found the problem.
Coun. Nigel Kitto said he would vote against allocating the funds.
“We decided in our five year financial plan that we wouldn’t do anything else to the building,’ he said. “It’s unsafe and should be condemned. It makes no sense. It’s throwing good money after bad.”
Coun. Kyle Dalum pointed out that regardless of any decision on the building’s future, the asbestos had to be dealt with.
However, Coun. Darryl Oakley said he agreed with Coun. Kitto.
“I’ve always had trouble with this building in my ten years on council,” he said. “I think the new master plan will suggest that it’s time to march forward. I’d much rather see a new ice surface near the Civic Centre.”
Oakley said that money had been spent on a new refrigeration plant which was thankfully built in an exterior building so it could be moved.
“I don’t want any more money put into that building,” he said.
However. Coun. Sandra Roberts said she would support the motion for the short term. Even if you did decided to sell the building, she said, the asbestos had to be abated. She also said that she felt Council had made an unspoken promise to the community that the arena would reopen after Covid.
Coun. Kent Goodwin said that even if a new facility was funded immediately it still wouldn’t come on board for several years.
“I will support the motion to spend this money, but I look forward to future planning for a new facility,” he said.
Mayor Don McCormick said that this conversation had been had before. “We told staff to get quotes,” he said. “We need a second ice surface and a new arena won’t be here for a while. We need to keep Marysville Arena open for at least another season.”