Smithers council is one step closer to realizing the dream of a second sheet of ice after receiving a report and complete schematic design from Bruce Carscadden Architects Ltd. and Venture Pacific Construction Management.
Council rejected an earlier plan two months ago because it failed to provide the details they needed to approve or reject it.
After receiving two proposals that were far over budget, Smithers council asked for a more detailed analysis of what could be built for the amount of funding council has allocated for the new facility.
After much debate and comment from Bruce Carscadden Architects and Venture Pacific, council postponed the decision until staff could better examine the information.
However, for a project 20 years in the making, the sense is things are moving ahead.
“I think people are feeling really optimistic. It’s fantastic to see things have gotten to this point,” said Mayor Taylor Bachrach.
“This is a project that has been on the books and in the planing stages for many years and I think the sense of enthusiasm and excitement you feel is because we’re almost at the point where we can make a decision about whether or not to go forward with putting shovels in the ground this construction season.”
The second sheet of ice project has seen its fair share of hiccups along the way. Design plans and a proper budget have held up the construction phase more than once in the past few years but now with funds from the province as well as the Vancouver Canucks, council has budgeted almost four million dollars to see this project to fruition.
The new plan outlines the construction of the facility in several stages. Beginning this year will be the main structure of the building and the concrete pad for the ice surface. Following next year will be stands, change rooms and benches.
There is also talk of a heat transfer system to recapture and pipe in heat to the BV pool—a project the Regional District, who operate the pool—is very supportive of.
“The side-by-side option presents advantages for the two arenas to work together. More like a twin arena which obviously has advantages for tournaments and those kinds of events,” said Bruce Carscadden.
“It also leaves room for a heat transfer system to be piped into the existing building and capture all that heat for the pool,” said Venture Pacific’s Mark Van Ek.
During the schematic design study a survey was conducted to determine what the specific needs and wants arena users had for a new facility.
Out of the 400 or so respondents, 76 per cent indicated a new arena was a priority for Smithers.
85 per cent believed that the best option for the new arena was to be built along side the current arena instead of end to end.
Three years ago Bruce Carscadden unveiled four potential plans for a new facility that came from the original feasibility study.
However, all four plans were out of reach financially for Smithers. But now with money in the bank and excitement building council feels there is enough momentum to move forward with what will surely be a much needed amenity in Smithers.
“It’s really exciting and what we saw near the end [of the meeting], Councillor Adomeit brought up the motion and wants to get going right away. We’re just going to hold off for two more weeks so that we have all the information about what the best course of action is and I’m optimistic,” Bachrach said.