Bending heater vents, costing out door installation and raking turf are on the 2022 to-do list for improvements to the SASCU Indoor Memorial Arena.
The Shuswap Youth Soccer Association (SYSA) requested $40,000 in the City of Salmon Arm’s 2022 budget to start assessing the indoor arena in terms of potential upgrades. The funds were denied due to a tight budget affected mainly by increased policing costs.
Darby Boyd, general manager of Salmon Arm Recreation, said the dilemma with the arena in terms of long-term outlook is it was designed for a certain purpose (hockey rink) in an earlier era, so it doesn’t lend itself to a lot of upgrades.
He said while it’s still well-used, “it’s not perfect, we can’t keep it heated.”
Soccer players often find the facility extremely cold in the winter, with games cancelled at times because of the frigid temperatures.
Boyd said he has a budget of $7,000 for maintenance.
While the heaters were checked and are working properly, the hope is that bending the vents will help. He said the building is designed for the air to go out the roof vents so it wouldn’t be safe to close them off as there would be no fresh air movement.
The front doors were replaced last year, but Boyd said he’s hoping to get funds for more replacement doors in next year’s budget in hopes that less warm air will escape.
As for long-term plans for the indoor arena, Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said he is not aware of any.
“Any major improvement would most likely come by way of a recommendation from Shuswap Recreation Society to city council,” he said.
In a letter discussed by city council at its Dec. 13 meeting, Jayme Franklin, chair of the youth soccer association, said the organization has three goals.
Goal 3 refers to the proposed assessment of the indoor arena in terms of possible upgrades.
“We are very lucky to have this facility as it provides many user groups with the opportunity to enjoy protected space for a multitude of activities. We are trying to support its existence and maintain this valuable resource. To start this process, we are requesting budgeted amounts to complete a number of critical consulting reports.”
He said the reports would include an economic impact analysis to demonstrate the importance of the facility to the community, an architectural review of code requirements and a structural engineering report.
Goal 1 was to construct synthetic turf playing surfaces for off-season use when grass fields are not in operation. They would be on the southwest portion of Blackburn Park. The association intends to fundraise for construction costs and turn the turf surfaces over to the city, with the recreation society managing them.
Franklin stated the cost of the project could be upwards of $600,000 for one field, and $1.2 million for both fields. He said SYSA has $185,000 available as seed money.
“City staff are supportive of this endeavour, and we hope to receive grant funding in 2022 for construction in late 2022 or early 2023, depending on grant and partnership opportunity outcomes,” he wrote.
Goal 2 was to add lighting to the existing Blackburn Park grass fields.
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