The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) will spend more than a quarter of a million dollars on the Sunshine Coast Arena in Sechelt, the board decided March 14.
The 35-year-old arena is undergoing repairs after the slab failed due to frost heaving in April 2012. The $1.2-million replacement work is covered by the SCRD’s general property insurance, but some unanticipated added costs came to light during the project, SCRD treasurer Tina Perreault said.
“Quite typical with repairing older buildings, you find things that need to get into compliance,” Perreault said. “There were a lot of unknowns.”
A total of $268,000 was approved for the arena, with big-ticket items including $115,000 for electrical and lighting upgrades, $95,000 for perimeter drain repairs, and $50,000 for compressor room ventilation.
As well, the board approved $25,000 for the Gibsons and District Aquatic Centre to cover the cost of tot pool drain repairs.
Funding for the projects will come from a combination of sources — $173,000 from an internal liability under agreement (LUA) for water reserves that was under-spent, $90,000 from 2012 surplus, and $30,000 from pending grants. New lighting for the arena had been budgeted as a carry-forward project from last year.
“We’ve managed to cover all of it without increasing taxation,” Perreault said.
In addition, she noted, prior to the slab failure, the SCRD had earmarked the rink boards and glass for repairs — but because they were damaged when the slab heaved, they are being repaired under the insurance coverage.
“In some regard, the failure saved us $330,000,” Perreault said.
Work began in early November on the project, which involved the demolition of the old slab and piping, fill excavation, and installation of a new slab, designed to last more than 30 years and protect against frost heaving.
The completed slab and system upgrades were being tested for commissioning this week, Paul Fenwick, the SCRD’s general manager of community services, said Tuesday.
“Likely by the weekend we’ll be able to flood the ice and see how the slab performs,” Fenwick said.
During the next weeks, he said, project consultants and staff will look for deficiencies, and by early April the project should be complete, “assuming all the deficiencies are looked after.”
Since the work budgeted by the SCRD will take place after the new slab is signed off, “there won’t be a resumption of normal services until the fall,” he added.
The arena closure has meant reduced programs at the Gibsons and Area Community Centre and had an impact on organized youth sport participation, Fenwick said.
“We appreciate the cooperation of the users, because they were helpful and accommodating,” he said.
Meanwhile, the draft of the SCRD’s parks and recreation master plan will be presented to elected officials and invitees at a workshop on April 19, with public consultations planned for June.