Recreation facilities are one of the least important concerns to residents of West Kelowna according to citizen surveys from recent years.
But the District of West Kelowna will likely spend around $1.45 million on a new ice floor, better lighting and a new rink board system in Jim Lind Arena next year.
“According to our citizen survey, people resist more money for facilities…it’s ranked fairly low,” said Mayor Doug Findlater.
“The reality is that this is a 35-year-old facility. The piping under the floor is worn out. If we don’t do something, if we have a major failure, then we’re dealing with this on a catastrophic kind of basis to replace it with an unscheduled interruption.”
District staff will seek council’s approval on the project during 2013 budget deliberations. There will also be a suggestion to expedite the approval so construction can take place during off-peak months from April to August, 2013.
The district will likely lose about $50,000 in revenue during the construction period. If the work was to be done during the winter, the cost would likely be four times higher.
Jim Lind Arena was built in 1974 and still has the original floor. According to an information report presented to council Tuesday, arena floors have a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years.
The arena has had two major leaks over the past seven years; both leaks forced the rink to close for a week to complete the required repairs.
According to Erin Goodwin, facilities supervisor with the district, the new lighting will likely reduce energy costs by 50 per cent.
He added the new boards will be installed in the same configuration as Royal LePage Place; therefore, the dry floor will fit on either surface.
“I see some real potential for that if we were to (host) some sort of major event: A curling or a hockey tournament,” said Findlater.
“It will give us more versatility in the whole facility.”
Repairs to Jim Lind are included in the district’s 10-year capital plan, to be completed in 2013. West Kelowna has also applied for a $250,000 grant through the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund to help fund the project.
“I think we have to maintain what we have and bring it up to a modern standard. We’re not getting another sheet of ice out of this, we’re just making sure that we don’t lose this (one).”