Second sheet of ice closer to reality

In a special meeting of Town of Smithers council April 28 the new arena was the only topic of discussion.

Mayor Taylor Bachrach joined the special meeting April 28 from Prince George via Skype.

Smithers Town Council has committed to building the second sheet of ice.

In a special public meeting held last night, councillors voted to bolster the project’s budget by about $1 million to $4.7 million and to meet further with two of the rejected bidders in the RFP process, Venture Pacific Construction Management and C & M Development Inc. to see if scaled-back, phased projects are possible.

“Figure out the size of the building we need, with a sheet of ice in it, get it going so you can skate on it and from there, people can see what they want,” Councillor Norm Adomeit said.

“Build it a bit at a time.”

The town currently has $3,663,786 in confirmed funding for the project.

At the regular council meeting April 23, all four bids submitted for the construction of the second sheet of ice were rejected by councillors for varying reasons.

Council set up last night’s meeting aiming to find a way to move the project forward and not miss out on this year’s building season.

A motion was made by Councillor Mark Bandstra to commit to spending up to $4.7 million on the new arena, funding the difference by using $400,000 from the town’s land sales reserve, $250,000 from a grant not-yet secured from the Northern Development Initiative Trust and $400,000 in community fundraising.

Also included in the motion was the need to work with the chosen contractor to see how they can find even more cost efficiencies.

It passed unanimously.

Additionally, a motion was approved directing council and staff to meet with Venture Pacific and C & M Development to see if they are interested in working with the town on a phased building approach and also asking staff to prepare a report on the proposals if the companies decide to move forward.

They set a deadline of having this complete in time for the May 14 council meeting.

Councillor Frank Wray, who served as chair of the meeting, stressed to the public in attendance the need for the community to rally behind the project to bring it to completion after more than two decades in the making.

“I would like to send a clear message from council that we would like to see the community start raising funds right away.

“We’re making our commitment that if you raise the funds, you’ll get more arena.

“The more funds you raise, the more arena we’ll get.”

For the complete story, see the May 8 print edition of The Interior News.

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