Penticton city staff say a new study commissioned by the Arena Task Force is only to determine costs and other factors involved in building new arena, not a signal that the city has settled on that plan.
Bregje Kozak, manager of facilities, said the feedback from the community is that people want to know what the actual costs are to build a new arena before a decision is made.
“Some people are really for building a new arena, some people are not for building a new arena,” said Kozak. “We want to make sure we get all of the options and costs out there before any sort of decisions or any recommendations go forward to council.”
The contract to study the feasibility of building a new arena on the SOEC site was awarded to a team of consultants led by Sierra Planning and Management. The team includes Dialog Design (prime architect); Greyback Construction (construction costing); International Coliseums Company (arena specialists); McElhanney (civil and structural engineering) and Meiklejohn Architects (local representative and primary for parking, traffic, site circulation etc.).
The study is anticipated to cost $58,000.
Previous studies, which put the cost of a new single-sheet arena at $17 million, were rough estimates based on typical costs, but not specific to building on the SOEC campus, according to Kozak.
“We need to do a little bit of homework in terms of where it could be placed on site, how that would impact traffic and parking and pedestrian circulation,” said Kozak, who said the cost of the building would probably be similar to previous studies, but site-specific factors like soil conditions, roadway construction and pedestrian traffic could vary the costs.
Kozak said the study will focus on locating a new arena on the SOEC campus, based on feedback from the community and the direction set by the task force.
“If the consultants determine that there is no suitable place within the SOEC site, we would have to start looking outside of that,” said Kozak. The study will take into account three options: a single-sheet facility, opportunity to expand in the future and building a double-sheet facility now. A parallel study, also commissioned by the Arena Task Force, is in progress, looking at upgrade costs for McLaren and Memorial Arenas.
This study will provide greater accuracy in the cost estimates to repair or upgrade the arenas and provide 5, 10 and 20+ year investment options to determine how each improvement will extend the life of the asset. Once the studies are completed, results will be shared with the community. For more information about the work of the task force, visit shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.