Revelstoke city council wants to see the price tag for a new ice arena before they move forward with a staff recommendation to replace the failing roof on the Revelstoke Forum.
The expensive roof replacement will cost many millions and would be a de facto decision not to replace the Forum for decades.
Parks committee member Coun. Gary said the existing Forum is “a terrific facility” and the city would have to “spend a lot of money” to replace it with something similar in size. “I would be much in favour of keeping the facility that we have,” he said after presenting a 100-page engineering report on the Forum.
The report by Kamloops-based Watson Engineering outlines structural issues with the nearly 50-year-old building, including cracking foundation concrete, delaminating beams and cracking trusses. It no longer meets snow load requirements and snow must be shovelled off the roof.
The report outlines 10 options, ranging from more minor repairs to a total replacement of the roof. Different materials are contemplated, including replacing the roof with a similar glulam beam design, or a new steel structure.
The cheapest fix is $1,768,925 while the most expensive is $7,909,918. The lifespan and ongoing maintenance costs of the 10 options vary greatly.
However, some council members didn’t want to throw in the towel on a replacement building.
Coun. Tony Scarcella wanted a report on a replacement building to “compare the prices” and have a plan in place to help leverage potential outside funding.
“This sounds like putting a bandage on a gaping wound,” agreed Coun. Chris Johnston. “We’ve got … two brand new schools and they look really nice.” He said a new arena could add to the ongoing improvement of the neighbourhood.
“It would be nice to see even a rough concept plan for development of the whole area,” Johnston added.
Coun. Steve Bender also wanted to explore a new arena. “To me it seems like we could wind up throwing [good] money after bad here,” Bender said. “We’ve got a new pool, new schools and an old barn for an arena. I would be totally in favour of … investigating thoroughly if we could somehow look into getting a new one.”
In the end, council accepted the report for information and asked city staff to report back on the cost of building a new arena.