Arena contract signed, prep work begins

At the Town of Smithers council meeting June 25, moved unanimously to sign a contract with C and M Development Inc. to build a second arena.

It’s official, Smithers is getting a second arena.

At the regular Town of Smithers council meeting on June 25, moved unanimously to sign a contract with C and M Development Inc. to build a second arena for the price tag of $4.695 million.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to make that decision,” Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said.

“A lot of people were waiting to see if council was serious,

so hopefully once shovels are in the ground and the contractor starts the pre loading that’s going to show that this is happening.”

At a special public meeting at the end of April, Smithers councillors voted to boost the new arena project’s budget by about $1 million to $4.7 million.

Currently, just under $3.7 million has been raised for the project.

The difference will be made up using $400,000 from the town’s land sales reserve, $250,000 from a Northern Development Initiative Trust grant that has not yet been secured and $400,000 in community fundraising.

Councillors expressed hope once the community sees work begin on the project, the donations would start to roll in.

“It’s important for people to understand this contract means [the second arena] is going forward,” said Coun. Frank Wray.

“Now is the time that you can be assured your donations will actually go toward this project.”

C and M Development Inc. president and owner Chris Erb said he expects the pre-loading to begin on the site within the next week.

“It’s happening fairly quickly and we’ll go from there,” he said.

The pre-loading could take anywhere from two to four months, Erb said.

Community members have been working to build a second sheet of ice for more than 20 years.