BEYOND THE HEADLINES: Good money after bad

Civic Arena was once the pride of Vernon but that’s a distant memory.

Civic Arena was once the pride of Vernon but that’s a distant memory.

On Monday, Vernon council was presented a shopping list of costly repairs by facilities manager Jim Coughlin.

Among the most serious items highlighted by Coughlin are:

“Cracking top chord truss – $10,000: This project is underway and we are planning on having it completed before the end of the year.

“Cracks in perimeter concrete walls – $5,000: The worst offending crack and the damage it caused was on the west wall lower storage area for minor hockey. The wall was opened up from the inside to find a failing insulated wood wall against a concrete wall that is decaying away at the bottom. Before this item can be fully addressed, the two to five-year project of exterior drainage should be completed. This will also cost closer to $20,000 to do the wall repair, not including any concrete repair.

“West washroom – $2,000: The west female washroom has been repaired. The west male room needs a new water closet. This is another ongoing item as we currently had a failure to a urinal in a south washroom. We have major drainage piping failure in all washroom areas.”

“North mechanical room – $1,500: Leak in domestic water. This has been repaired. However, the domestic and heating water loops will continue to have leaks show up as the infrastructure is dated.

“1938 electrical system – $2,000: We have two electrical companies on site doing repairs to different parts of the old system. One is a new lighting upgrade to various light fixtures, The other is upgrading the main light switches to the building. To do a full investigation, I will need to get a consultant involved so we are just fixing the areas that need upgrading now.”

About $54,500 in repairs that are either proceeding or are needed were put before council, but there’s no question that the price tag will soar even higher as other deficiencies are discovered.

“Everything we do seems to open up other problems,” Coughlin told council.

“We’re basically putting Band-Aids on them.”

While the condition of Civic shouldn’t come as a surprise after years of engineering studies, Coughlin’s update was like a slap of reality.

“It’s a sinking ship. It’s a maintenance nightmare,” said one high-level official.

Granted the building dates back to before the Second World War, but Coun. Dalvir Nahal has a valid point when she questions what form of regular upkeep occurred over the decades.

“I wonder where we went wrong and why it deteriorated so badly?” she said.

If Greater Vernon residents agree to twin Kal Tire Place Nov. 28, Civic Arena’s role as an ice sheet will come to an end. Although, some investment will be needed just to keep it running while the new project is under construction.

And if voters shoot down twinning Kal Tire Place, Civic Arena will have an indefinite role hosting 40 per cent of the hockey in town.

That will mean a significant cost for maintenance and upgrades and very little return as $6 million may only extend the lifespan by five to 10 years.

Greater Vernon officials and residents have to decide if throwing good money after bad is the best solution to meet long-term recreational needs or if a fresh start is the way to go.


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