Options considered for ice sheet

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has directed staff to look at arena options

Options are being investigated to get a new arena back on ice.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has directed staff from Vernon, Coldstream and the regional district to put together options for an expansion to Kal Tire Place to replace Civic Arena.

“It’s been a collaborative process and we want that to continue,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson, of the jurisdictions all being part of the process.

The Regional District of North Okanagan recently scrapped plans for a November referendum to expand Kal Tire Place because Victoria was concerned about RDNO borrowing funds for a facility owned by the city.

Among the options that will be considered by administration are Vernon holding a borrowing referendum on its own and then getting grants from the other jurisdictions for debt servicing, co-ownership of the facility or the regional district owning the new ice sheet and leasing it back to the city.

RDNO is also considering appealing the government’s decision not to approve a borrowing referendum because it doesn’t own Kal Tire Place.

There are concerns the 77-year-old Civic Arena could fail and be unavailable for use before a replacement facility is constructed.

“We want to expedite this process as quickly as possible,” said Cunningham, adding that the earliest a borrowing referendum could be held is spring 2015.

Vernon city council recently approved $75,000 in major maintenance work to keep Civic running.