Voters are being asked to borrow $13.2 million Saturday to twin Kal Tire Plac

Voters are being asked to borrow $13.2 million Saturday to twin Kal Tire Plac

Arena in voters’ hands

Residents of Vernon, Coldstream and the two electoral areas asked to borrow $13.2 million to twin Kal Tire Place

There’s not much time left in the period before Greater Vernon votes on a new ice rink.

Residents of Vernon, Coldstream and the two electoral areas will be asked to borrow $13.2 million to twin Kal Tire Place during Saturday’s referendum.

“We need people to vote,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director.

“We need to listen to people and I hope there is a resounding outcome one way or the other. We struggle with close votes.”

The Regional District of North Okanagan proposal is to decommission Civic Arena as an ice sheet  and twin Kal Tire Place to the north with a regulation-size ice sheet and 400 seats.

Civic Arena is almost 80 years old and officials have stated key infrastructure, such as refrigeration, could fail at any time, leaving ice users without access to other facilities.

Lacrosse and other groups are unable to use Civic during the spring and summer because of the cracked concrete slab.

“If there’s not a successful vote, we don’t have a plan B,” said Macnabb.

“If we don’t go ahead with a new ice sheet, what is the next step? Is it Civic, I don’t know.”

The City of Vernon states that renovation costs to keep Civic functional for five years is $5.6 million and $10.78 million for a decade.

Juliette Cunningham, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chairperson, doesn’t believe investing significant dollars in Civic makes sense.

“We’re growing as a community and if we want to attract young families and businesses, we need facilities like this,” she said of the proposal.

“We have to worry about the burden on taxpayers but we have to invest in the community to make it attractive.”

According to RDNO, if the referendum is approved, a residence assessed at $350,000 will pay $24 annually for 20 years.

About 1,432 people cast ballots in Wednesday’s advance poll – 434 at the regional district office and 998 at Vernon city hall. During the first advance poll Nov. 18, 1,112 people participated.

Polls are open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at  BX Elementary, Coldstream Elementary, Ellison Elementary, Silver Star Elementary and the Vernon Recreation Complex. Residents can vote at any of the locations.