Vernon’s Civic Arena is the focus of considerable discussion at city hall. (photo submitted)

Civic targeted for demolition

Vernon councillor says repurposing would be a waste of money

A Vernon politician insists sentimentality must be discarded and Civic Arena must be demolished.

Council agreed Monday to investigate repurposing of the 1938 arena, but Coun. Brian Quiring questions possibly spending $40,000 on the process.

“We’re kicking a dead horse here,” said Quiring, who is an architect.

A 1988 report considered the structure’s foundation to be substandard at that time.

“The building is failing — it’s end of life,” said Quiring.

It’s been suggested that overhauling Civic could cost at least $7 to $10 million.

“This isn’t refurbishing, it’s restoring and putting another use in it. It’s purpose is gone. We shouldn’t put any more time and energy into it. We should knock it down,” said Quiring.

However, Quiring’s colleagues disagreed with his approach.

“We have told the public we would get input on this (refurbishing). It’s a public facility,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

“We need to get a second opinion.”

City staff will use consultant to determine potential costs to renovate the facility as a simple shell.

Prior to awarding any contracts, staff will report back to council on the results of the proposals received. An estimate on a new shell facility for comparison will also be provided, as repurposing the Civic would mean bringing the facility up to modern building standards.

A final decision on proceeding with the review process would then be made.

“There’s a great deal of public support for maintaining this building. We owe it to them to come back with something that says we can or can’t do this and here’s the cost,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.

Mayor Akbal Mund admits Civic’s time may be running out.

“I’d love to keep it but it looks like it may not be able to be done,” he said.

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