Vernon Civic Arena demolition. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Civic Arena demolition hits high gear

The front of the addition came down in pieces at the deft controls of the excavator operator.

Demolition of the old Civic Arena on 37th Avenue kicked into high gear on Saturday with the front extension structure coming down.

The front section of the addition came down in pieces as the deft control of the excavator operator pulled and crushed the walls and roof in sections.

As the blade cut into the roof, and the excavator pulled across the structure, the beams and plywood snapped and crunched and gave way under the pressure. Masses of rubble were clouded in the dust as the historic structure was pulled apart.

Gary Polachek, of Dakota Reclmators Ltd., predicted the team would attack the main shell of the arena by the end of the month.

So much work was done internally before today on elements like asbestos and fixture removal that it would be easy to assume demolition had only started this weekend.

“This is day 10 or 11 of the project, and we’re on schedule to move onto the main building by the end of October,” Polachek said.

See the full video here:

History of the demolition decision

After reviewing numerous options in 2017, Vernon city council decided to pursue demolition of the arena, the oldest such facility in the Okanagan which opened in 1938.

The move came after council received a structural building assessment and cost estimates associated with reusing the building.

RELATED: Civic Arena to be demolished

RELATED: Civic Arena has played host to Vernon history

“The reports indicated given the state of the 80-year-old building, reuse would be technically challenging and very costly,” states the city in a press release. “The Civic Arena would require significant upgrades in order to repurpose it.”

Reports indicated that bringing the building into compliance with the Building Code to a basic shell building would be an estimated $11-12 million. New construction for the same basic shell facility would be $8-9 million. The estimates did not include any interior finishing or upgrades related to a future use.

Discussions about the future of the Civic Arena were sparked by the new ice surface expansion at Kal Tire Place (targeted opening date of Sept. 1, 2018). Once complete, the Civic Arena will no longer be used as an ice surface.

The Civic Arena hosted the 1956 Allan Cup Canadian Senior Hockey Championship (won in five games by the hometown Vernon Canadians), the 1978 Canadian Senior B Lacrosse Championships (won by the hometown Vernon Tigers) and the 1990 Centennial Cup Canadian Junior A Hockey Championship (won 6-5 in overtime by the hometown Vernon Lakers over the New Westminster Royals).

The old barn has also hosted rock concerts, boy scout ice jamborees, legendary basketball team the Harlem Globetrotters, and has been the permanent home of the Vernon Coca-Cola Classic Pee Wee Invitational Hockey Tournament during the Vernon Winter Carnival since the tournament’s inception in the 1970s.

City staff are expected to outline a process for demolition early in the new year, including the salvage and reuse of materials, specifically the big timber trusses in the building, cost estimates for demolition and potential funding sources.

Council vetoed a staff recommendation to bring together a “diverse spectrum of the public, including youth and the tourism advisory committee,” and design a future park to be developed on the arena site.

“I think we should demolish the building, then wait. We’ve got enough to do. Actually, we’re behind; we’re overworked,” said Coun. Brian Quiring. “I don’t want to start another process or rush into anything here.”

Coun. Catherine Lord called for a public participation process.

“I don’t like designing a future park,” she said. “I want to leave that open to public participation, and not just specifically having the site as a park.”

Council unanimously supported Quiring’s motion to defer the site’s future for one year.

To report a typo, email: newstips@vernonmorningstar.com.


Follow me on Twitter @johnkwhite
Email me john.white@vernonmorningstar.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Vernon Civic Arena demolition. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Vernon Civic Arena demolition. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Vernon Civic Arena demolition. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Vernon Civic Arena demolition. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Vernon Civic Arena demolition. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

Just Posted

Vernon ducks race for BC Guide Dogs

Ducks will be available to “adopt” for the race at Superstore, Safeway, the Bay and Buy Low Foods

BOOMER TALK: Dem bones gonna walk around you

Columnist Carole Fawcett looks at human bones and joints

Vernon Secondary Class of 1979 readies for reunion

Group celebrates 40 years since graduation with weekend golf, meet and greet and dinner/dance

Standard of living is not sustainable

LETTER: In response to Student Indoctrination letter

National Painting Week brings new look to Vernon senior home

Sherwin-Williams store volunteered their time and supplies to Abbeyville House

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Missing Shuswap teen found safe

The teen was found by searchers at 4:30 a.m. on May 25

Firefighter spring training comes to Lake Country

From LNG to breaking down doors, firefighters get training from industry pros

More than just a playground: Penticton’s Busy Beans Play Café to help parents and children

Owners Kim Wade and Tracey Wiseman want to use their expertise to help struggling families

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Highway 1 closed east of Revelstoke

Highway 1 is closed east of Revelstoke near Canyon Hot Springs due… Continue reading

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

Okanagan woman celebrates 101 years young on the back of a Harley Davidson

Last Saturday Violet Madeline celebrated 101 years. A member of the Lower… Continue reading

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Most Read