Canal Flats arena seeks further funding for upgrades

Increased costs for the upgrade of the Canal Flats arena are forcing the Village of Canal Flats to seek additional funding options.

Increased costs for the upgrade of the Canal Flats arena are forcing the Village of Canal Flats to seek additional funding options for their million-dollar project.

In consultation with Fairbank Architects, the project building committee has determined the total cost will reach $1.305 million, up from an original estimate of $1 million.

Canal Flats Chief Administrative Officer Brian Woodward said $157,000 of that increase is due to the need to completely replace the bleachers, while a number of smaller expenditures make up the balance.

“They have it all defined now and they’ve included the bleachers, which require complete replacement,” Woodward said.

Already $945,000 of the project’s funding is secured — $800,000 of which came from the province of British Columbia, and the remaining from the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) arena reserve fund and the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT). An additional $360,000 will now need to be secured.

The village is applying for $385,000 from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF), and is also seeking an increase of funding from the CBT in the amount of $157,500.

Should both of those applications prove to be unsuccessful, there are two remaining options — both involving taxation.

In September, the Columbia Valley Board of Directors voted to eliminate the Canal Flats recreation service area — which included the Village of Canal Flats and a portion of RDEK Electoral Area F with residents of Fairmont Hot Springs — and replace it by extending the larger Columbia Valley Recreation recreation service area.

According to RDEK Chief Financial Officer Shawn Tomlin, this decision is likely to be finalized on Thursday (December 6) at the Columbia Valley Board of Directors meeting.

Following that, the newly expanded Columbia Valley Recreation Service Area could take on the increased cost of the Canal Flats arena through increased tax levies across the entirety of the service area. Should the directors decline, the final option would require the residents of the old Canal Flats Recreation service area to pay for the arena upgrade, also through tax levies; however, they would not actually see a cost increase. Instead, they would simply continue to pay an amount equitable to their current recreation service fees and not see the decrease promised by the new larger Columbia Valley Recreation Service Area until such time that the arena is paid off in full.

“In order to pay for the upgrade… the properties in the Canal Flats service area would pay approximately the same as they are paying now,” Tomlin said.

The Village of Canal Flats expects to hear back from the CIIF in January, and are currently aiming for an April 1, 2013 start date for construction.



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