UPDATE 4 pm
No date has been set for it, but Vernon’s Civic Arena will be coming down.
City council has approved getting a staff report on cost estimates and potential funding sources for demolishing the 80 year old arena.
Mayor Akbal Mund says with costs of 11 million dollars to re-purpose it, it didn’t make sense to save it.
“I feel bad that it’s going to have to come down, but it’s the best thing to do for our community.”
Council isn’t making any commitment on what the site will be used for, deferring that discussion for one year, meaning it will be up to the next council.
Suggestions have included a park, or for a community facility.
City of Vernon news release:
After reviewing numerous options, Council decided Tuesday to pursue demolition of the Civic Arena. This move came after Council received a structural building assessment and cost estimates associated with reusing the building. The reports indicated given the state of the 80 year old building, reuse would be technically challenging and very costly. 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.
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. Discussions about the future of the Civic Arena were sparked by the new ice surface expansion at Kal Tire Place (targeted opening date of September 1, 2018). Once complete, the Civic Arena will no longer be used as an ice surface.
Council expressed a desire to engage the public regarding the future of the property in late 2018.
6 am story:
City of Vernon staff say the Civic Arena is at the end of its useful life — and should be demolished.
A report to be discussed by council today estimates it would cost 11 million dollars to make the 80 year old building useable for another purpose, more than it would cost for a new facility ($8-9 million).
“There are no efficiencies gained by reusing the Civic Arena,” says Cleo Corbett, long range planner in a report to council. “When examining re-purposing older buildings, it is often for heritage revitalization and retention purposes. Because of the nature of the required structural upgrades, there would be little to no building
elements left of the Civic Arena to celebrate, enhance or showcase.”
Mayor Akbal Mund has already made up his mind, that the building’s days are numbered.
“You could build a new building, not particularly an arena, but a building with four walls that would cost less and be brand new, so it doesn’t make any economic sense to keep it.”
Staff are looking for council’s approval to get cost estimates on demolition, and to start a process to get public input on turning the site into a park.
“Should demolition proceed, a way to celebrate the building could involve salvaging the fir timber trusses and utilizing them in public places, including potentially a design feature at the Kal Tire Multiplex and a future community park(s) potentially on the same site,” says Corbett.
Mund says a park is the leading idea for the site.
“Other ideas have been thrown around, like could it be for a cultural centre? I don’t know, but it’s a piece of land that’s owned by the City,” says the mayor.