Over the last few months, Revelstoke residents have had a chance to let the City know how they want the future to look for their beloved old arena. This week, Revelstoke City Council reviewed the findings from recent communication with locals and got a better feel for what the community wants.
In March, the council approved Phase 1 of the engagement process for the future of the Revelstoke Forum and Curling Club.
Katie Hamilton of Tavola Strategy Group shared the staff’s findings with the City at a council meeting on July 11.
More than 450 residents voiced their opinion during the six-week engagement process. Residents engaged with City officials at the Cyclone Taylor Cup in early April, visited TalkRevelstoke and filled out their survey, attended an open house at the Revelstoke Forum, read information through the press and city newsletters, and more.
The City also met with nine groups who use the arena most to find out what their thoughts were on their potential new home, including the Revelstoke Grizzlies, the Revelstoke Minor Hockey Association, the Revelstoke Curling Club, arena staff, and the Revelstoke Figure Skating Club. These groups all expressed concerns that as they grow, the old arena won’t meet their future needs. For example, the Revelstoke Grizzlies may become a Junior A hockey franchise in the next few years if the KIJHL’s plans move forward — this would mean that the team’s facility would need to improve to meet the standards of this higher level of sport.
One of the most glaring issues with the current Revelstoke Forum is the roof, which is in dire need of replacement. The City of Revelstoke has previously said that replacing the roof and making the required upgrades to other facilities in the arena would cost up to $35 million. Although residents do consider future costs an important consideration when moving forward with the project, they commented that they would rather see their tax dollars spent on a new facility rather than fix the old one.
Generally, Revelstoke residents who engaged with the City’s process want a new facility to be built, one that gives them access to more than just a rink. Ideally, people want the new facility to have more emphasis on year-round use, have the necessary facilities to expand existing programs, and for the project to make sense financially.
The Revelstoke Forum has, until now, stood the test of time and remains one of the most loved arenas in the region. At the open house the City hosted, residents shared stories of the role the arena has played in their lives and in the community. The atmosphere provided by the old trusses, the two-sided seating, and the feeling of looking down into the bowl as you enter the building — all characteristics of the current arena that residents value.
Council received the information contained in Hamilton’s report and instructed staff to come back to the council table in late September with a report outlining potential locations for the new facility.
“Staff continue to have an open mind in terms of all three ‘next steps’ because we cannot discount any option for any reason. We are still in the due diligence phase of this exciting initiative,” commented CAO Evan Parliament in the council report.
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