It's still not known when there may be a referendum to replace Civic Arena as an ice sheet.

It's still not known when there may be a referendum to replace Civic Arena as an ice sheet.

Greater Vernon arena vote hits roadblock again

Ministry of Community Development expresses concerns about facility proposal

Officials in Victoria continue to throw up roadblocks for a new Greater Vernon arena.

The Regional District of North Okanagan received word from the Ministry of Community Development Tuesday that it won’t sign off on a borrowing referendum to replace Civic Arena as an ice sheet and twin Kal Tire Place.

“We’re all surprised because we followed the process they suggested,” said Juliette Cunningham, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chairperson.

“Everything that was sent to them was what they recommended.”

RDNO hoped to hold a borrowing referendum in November 2014 but the provincial government blocked that process because Kal Tire Place is owned by the City of Vernon.

The new strategy was for the regional district to borrow the funds and own the twinned ice sheet at Kal Tire Place. A long-term lease would place it in the hands of the city, which would take over ownership in 20 years.

However, the ministry appears to still have concerns about RDNP borrowing money for a facility that will eventually be owned by the city.

The regional district will consider its next steps.

“We’re trying to find common ground (with the ministry). We’re still hopeful,” said David Sewell, chief administrative officer.