City council has approved the submission of a grant application that would fund the replacement of the arena roof.
The application is for $9 million to replace the roof and increase accessibility by adding an entry vestibule, a lift and a female change room.
Through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program for Rural and Northern Communities, 90 per cent of the cost of the project could be funded. The city will have to come up with the rest of the money if the application is accepted.
Though outlined in the report from staff, it is not possible for city staff to apply for the funds for any other project, such as building a new user or new spectator arena, at this time because they do not have the information required on those projects, said Laurie Donato, director of parks, recreation and culture.
However, should the grant application be approved, the city has the option of returning the money should they decide not to do the project or if not enough funding is granted and the city is unwilling to borrow a large amount.
Donato said that changes to the project can be made after the money is granted, however, they have to be approved by the ministry, and she was unsure if a complete project overhaul, such as deciding to build a new arena versus upgrading the existing arena, would be approved.
Cody Younker and other councillors, though voting in favour of applying for the grant, were concerned about the lack of public consultation.
Donato said because of the timing of the grant announcement, which was in October right before the municipal election, as well as the upcoming Jan. 23 deadline, she felt there wasn’t time for community consultation on the project.
Should the grant be approved, the city would have to approve a borrowing bylaw to cover the funds not provided by the government, and community consultation would take place during that process.
The council chambers were packed with onlookers interested in the outcome of the arena. Children and young men wearing Revelstoke hockey jerseys were also in attendance, however there was no opportunity for public input.
Alan Chabot expects that the grant announcements will be made this summer, prior to the beginning of the federal election campaign season.
In her report Donato said that the current state of the arena roof is “the most pressing issue facing the department.”
The decision on what to do about the aging facility has been continually deferred since 2012, when the city commissioned a Roof Structure Upgrades Design Concept Report.
In 2014, the city hired Watson Engineering to complete a life cycle costing summary to estimate the service life of the existing arena, at the time the consultant said that the roof replacement was overdue.
Since then minor upgrades have been made in an attempt to elongate the life of the roof such as monitoring snow and making improvements to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system to control moisture within the structure.
However, the city staff report says that snow removal is not a long term solution; it costs the city $20,000 each time the roof is shovelled.
“As we continue to defer making a decision on the arena roof, we continue to have to put money into the arena as the life cycle of various components in each of the buildings system comes to an end,” the staff report says. “Staff have been able to continue to defer projects that do not impact the operation of the facility or pose a health and safety risk.”
|A look at what the four options would cost the city, from the city staff report to council.|
The report outlines costs for roof repairs and upgrades at $3-5 million with a life expectancy of 15-20 years. The roof replacement would come in at around $11 million and would be expected to last 40 years. A new spectator arena would come in at $17-18 million and last $60 years. A new “user arena”, which would have limited seating and not be suitable for a Junior B hockey team, would come in at around $11 million. In each of the new arena plans a curling rink was not included.