Dairy Queen owner Sheldon Aldrich signs up in favour of a yes vote in Saturday’s referendum to borrow $13 million to build a twin ice sheet at Kal Tire Place.

Dairy Queen owner Sheldon Aldrich signs up in favour of a yes vote in Saturday’s referendum to borrow $13 million to build a twin ice sheet at Kal Tire Place.

Case made for new arena

Greater Vernon residents are being asked to borrow $13 million to twin Kal Tire Place

Cameron Grant views the Vernon Civic Arena as a clunker of an old car.

You know, the type that’s paid for, has a history but the repairs cost about $100 or so each month to keep it running. Eventually, the clunker ends up in a wrecking yard before it breaks down on a highway somewhere.

Grant wants to send the Civic to the wrecking yard.

“We have an opportunity this week to purchase a new vehicle for about $3 per month,” said Grant, spokesperson for the Arena Advocacy Group, which is pursuing a yes vote in Saturday’s referendum that would see $13 million borrowed toward twinning Kal Tire Place as a replacement for the Civic if the vote passes.

The group held a press conference Monday at Kal Tire Place to encourage people to get out and vote.

“I represent a large group of Vernon and area voters made up of arena user groups, local businesses and taxpayers that know how much financial sense this new arena makes. We want to emphasize the importance of a yes vote,” said Grant.

“We believe the facts speak for themselves. Facts such as the Civic Arena is worn out. It can’t be repaired for less money than building a replacement rink attached to Kal Tire Place. And I’d like to emphasize this is not a new rink. It’s a replacement rink for one that’s falling apart.”

It has been stated that should something happen to the Civic Arena, up to 40 per cent of kids, adults and seniors – male and female – would not be able to participate in their event at the rate they do now.

For the average taxpayer, said the group, the replacement rink would cost about one cup of coffee – $3 – per month.

Grant was joined Monday by representatives of 10 Vernon user groups and businesses, all speaking in favour of the referendum passing.

“As a business owner, I understand the balance between repairs and replacement,” said Sheldon Aldrich, owner of Dairy Queen and father to kids who use the local arenas.

“There comes a time when even the best equipment needs to be replaced. On a personal nature, my children are in sports now but they may not get the chance to use the replacement arena if it’s approved but I want to pay it forward.

“Someone had the foresight to create the arenas we have now so my kids could play and they’ve enjoyed it immensely.”

Trevor Rasmussen, president of the Vernon Vortex Speed Skating Club, has spent 28 years in the sport.

“I know first-hand the values of living on the ice,” said Rasmussen. “I had a wonderful career and I hope to continue with the next generation.

“I feel it’s very important to keep our youth off the street and put them on the ice. It worked well for myself and I encourage the yes vote.”

The replacement arena will benefit so much more than just minor hockey players, said Grant.

“It will benefit user groups of all rink sports, all ages, all genders,” he said. “The spinoffs benefit the businesses in town and contribute to our economy. Most of all, it will benefit every taxpayer.”

Voting takes place Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Vernon, Coldstream and the BX.

Information booths that will have voting details as well as the Civic Arena engineering assessment report and the Civic Arena replacement feasibility study will be set up today at the Schubert Centre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at Kal Tire Place from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The final information booth before the vote will be set up Thursday at Kal Tire Place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.