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Fate of Marysville arena up in the air

Petition calls for continued operation; Kimberley Council to decide fate next Tuesday

Carolyn Grant

Kimberley Daily Bulletin

Kimberley Minor Hockey is circulating a petition in Kimberley in regards to the future of the Marysville Arena.

The petition states, "It has come to the attention of the Kimberley Minor Hockey executive that the City of Kimberley is looking at shutting down the Marysville Arena for good. We, Kimberley Minor Hockey, are only one user group of this arena and need the full functioning of both Civic and Marysville arenas to provide the sport to all kids in Kimberley.

"Shutting down the Marysville Arena will affect all users of both arenas and will likely eliminate some user groups from getting their ice times or creating longer running hours thus creating extremely late ice hours for some user groups.

"Please sign the petition in support of keeping the Marysville Arena in operation for all user groups to enjoy."

Mayor Ron McRae has confirmed that the Marysville Arena question will be on the agenda at the regular council meeting next Tuesday, February 11 and Council will make a decision as to whether to continue to operate it or not.

McRae makes no secret of his feelings on the matter — he believes the City should continue to operate the arena.

"I truly believe it is an important part of the recreation infrastructure of this community. Yes, we do have two arenas, but what's so bad about that? It's something we should be proud of — that we are so supportive of recreation," said McRae.

"Just like any other community, recreation facilities operate on tax payer dollars. There are very few communities that operate these facilities on a break-even basis. It is part of the taxation structure to provide recreation facilities."

The fate of the arena has been looming on the horizon for quite some time, since City Council was notified that the ice plant had to be replaced. The City managed to get a variance from the Boiler Inspector for this year but will not get another.

Council voted last year to spend $188,000 to erect the building to house the new ice plant.

The arena needs a new ice plant at a cost of about $350,000 and the City was not successful in its grant applications. McRae says $260,000 of that would come from general capital and the other $90,000 out of the gas tax.

"I think we should spend the money and look for opportunities going forward to increase revenues and efficiencies," he said.

The Marysville arena costs $183,252 per year to operate and brings in $60,257 in revenue. The Civic Centre costs $395,058 to operate and brings in $105,320. The Marysville arena actually has a better cost recovery percentage at 32.81, than the Civic Centre's, which is 26.66 per cent.

McRae says he realizes the issue has definitely caught people's attention.

"We've had a number of emails flowing into City Hall — all of them in favour of keeping it open. I fully expect to see at least the Minor Hockey people in attendance at Tuesday's meeting."