‘The wood’s got to go: ‘ M.D. council ponders the fate of the Canyon Creek arena

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The Canyon Creek arena, it turns, out, violates all kinds of codes. The question M.D. council is facing is what to do about it. The matter came up at council’s Nov. 22 meeting.
Having seen an estimate on suggested upgrades to the arena, councillors were somewhat restrained in their enthusiasm when talking via conference call to Roger Field of Field Engineering. What started out as an idea of replacing doors has turned into a list of changes totalling $750,000. The biggest item on the list is the replacement of the player boxes, boards and building a new Zamboni room outside.
“The wood’s got to go,” said Field.
Field said the M.D. might be able to get away with just replacing the doors without triggering a codes inspection. Likely any electrical changes would do that, though.
“The can of worms has opened up,” said councillor Brad Pearson.
Councillors tossed around the idea of doing the bare minimum of work so as not to need a development permit.
“So if we don’t need a permit, we don’t need to worry about code?” asked councillor Sandra Melzer.
“I have to check,” said Field. “As soon as you need a building permit, it triggers everything.”
“I don’t want to rain on your parade,” M.D. public works manager Bill Klassen told council. “But some of the codes have become a lot stricter.” He pointed to the current renos at the Flatbush Complex, where those stricter codes are affecting the scope and cost of that project.
Agreed, said Field. “You don’t want spend money and then find out you can’t use it.”
The question arose how much the arena is actually used. Twelve hours a week was the answer.
“And it’s rented out occasionally,” said M.D. rural services boss Russ Jassman. “Typically ice goes in the middle of December and comes out at the end of March, depending on the weather.”
“I have a tough time justifying spending that kind of money for 12 hours a week,” said reeve Murray Kerik, saying what others were probably thinking.
Sticking up for the arena, Pearson said use is “more than you think.” He added that people from Slave Lake come out and use it. “I would think we just fix a few doors – maybe fix a few lights.”
“The second you say electrical, you have to fix everything,” said councillor Jeff Commins.
“Maybe there’s wiggle room,” said Pearson.
“Is there anybody who cares about it?” asked councillor Melzer.
“It is used,” said CAO Allan Winarski. “All of our M.D. facilities face the same challenges. They’re fairly low-use facilities.”
Pearson: “Once it’s gone it’s hard to get back.”
Councillor Robert Esau: “The more pillars you tear down, the crumblier our communities get.”
Councillor Becky Peiffer: “Would Slave Lake pay to use it?”
Esau: “My thought too. This Inter-Municipal Agreement has flowed all one way.”
Kerik: “If we did this over three years….?”
Eventually, council settled on a motion to have Mr. Field further investigate what the M.D. could do without triggering the full landslide of upgrades. The motion included a direction for the M.D. to look into the possibility of setting up an outdoor skating surface in Canyon Creek for the time being, given the likelihood the arena will not be in business this winter.

Share this post