South Peace News
Town of High Prairie will have to foot the full cost of the bill to repair two recreation arenas estimated at more than $1.2 million.
At its regular meeting Aug. 25, council learned that a request from the town for Big Lakes County for 50 per cent funding was denied by Big Lakes council.
High Prairie council requested that Big Lakes share in the costs for a project at the Sports Palace to replace the refrigerated concrete slab and dasher boards for $1,205,223 and a new roof at the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre for $73,900.
Council awarded contracts to Bry Sand Ice Arena Ltd. for work at the Sports Palace and to Seko Construction for the project at the Buchanan centre.
Big Lakes council denied the request for further funding at its regular meeting Aug. 24, and passed motions that funds come from the county’s annual capital infrastructure grant to the town.
High Prairie council approved a motion by Mayor Brian Panasiuk that the town contribute the full cost.
He hoped the county would have boosted its contributions.
“They’re not coming to the table with more money,” Panasiuk says.
“They’re saying use capital grant funding.
“This is our building, this is our responsibility.”
However, he says council will consider funding options, such as grants.
“It could come from the capital grant or reserves,” Panasiuk says.
Councillor Sacha Martens was disappointed Big Lakes turned additional funding, especially for the Sports Palace upgrade.
“Their residents use it as much as ours,” Martens says.
“Recreation is an economic driver.”
Work at the Sports Palace is scheduled to be completed before the 2023-24 ice season.
Councillor John Dunn says it’s vital to have ice in the arena to accommodate all user groups.
“If we don’t have ice in, a lot of youth will go to other communities,” Dunn says.
Councillor James Waikle says the upgrade at the Sports Palace is vital.
“We’ll be lucky if we get through this coming season,” Waikle says.
The refrigerated slab is past its life expectancy, High Prairie recreation superintendent Ramona Rollins says.
With tight funding, council now looks to the community to raise funds.
Councillor Donna Deynaka suggests the recreation board spearhead fundraising for the Sports Palace project.
“We need to get the community involved,” Deynaka says.
“We can’t do this as a town (municipality).”
“That’s a lot of money to put into that building.”
The mayor support the fundraising.
“We need to set a target,” Panasiuk says.
“I think we can raise a significant amount of money because it’s an important project.”
Councillor Therese Yacyshyn says council can count on the community to raise funds for the Sports Palace.
“People step up in this community,” Yacyshyn says.
“The High Prairie region is known as a community that comes together.”
Council members suggested that all user groups of the Sports Palace get active to raise funds.