Arena Task Force recommends option for grant application

Penticton – The Arena Task Force is recommending that Council direct the Strategic Priorities Fund grant application towards the option of a twin surface, multi-use arena on the west side of the South Okanagan Event Centre site. If successful, the grant application could secure up to $6 million to invest in Penticton’s arenas.

“This option made the most sense for the grant application,” says Stewart Ladyman, chair of the Arena Task Force. “It has a good chance of generating funding from grants as well as private donations and it meets the needs of the user groups today and in the future.”

With this option, minimal repairs would be performed on Memorial Arena and McLaren Arena to keep the buildings operational and safe for the next several years while the next phase of reviews and approvals are completed. Once the new facility is built, Memorial Arena would be converted to dry surface to support activities such as lacrosse, pickleball, and soccer while McLaren would be decommissioned. The option is estimated to cost $33.9 million and would help meet Penticton’s arena needs for the next 50 years.

“There is a demand for more surface time in both ice and dry surface activities,” says Ladyman. “A multiuse facility offers more flexibility to accommodate a wider range of uses which means better use of our facilities day and night, and year round.”

The Task Force considered a number of criteria to determine their recommended option for the grant application including how well the option meets the needs of the user groups, the overall value for the taxpayer, feedback from the community and the opportunity to generate funding such as grants and private donations.

“This is an important milestone but it is just the beginning of the planning process,” says Bregje Kozak, Manager of Facilities and staff liaison to the Task Force. Staff’s report to Council recommends additional financial analysis to clarify operational expenses and revenue opportunities for the preferred option, development of a funding strategy and more community consultation, all of which will inform the project business case for a final staff recommendation.

Staff’s report is now available on the City's website. Council will review the recommendation for the grant application at a meeting on July 25 between 6 pm and 8 pm in Council Chambers.