RDN to save $1m for future demolition of District 69 Arena

Money to be put in reserves starting from 2019 to 2023

The draft of the City of Parksville’s 10-year Community Park Master Plan includes a recommendation to relocate the District 69 Arena outside of the community park.

It is one of the eight priorities for the Parksville Community Park in the plan, received by the city late last year. Parksville has formed a working group but has not yet acted directly on the recommendations.

The arena demolition and relocation of a new curling club was a long-term recommendation, but the Regional District of Nanaimo wants to prepare for that day and plans to start allocating funds next year to pay for the tear down of the old arena and for the remediation of the land, which staff estimates would cost around $1 million.

Staff suggested funds be placed into reserves within the 2019-2023 Financial Plan. Putting aside funds of up to $200,000 a year would result in a 9.7 per cent increase to the 2019 projected requisition of $2,052,540, which would cost between $0.90 and $1.80 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The RDN staff recommended renewal of the five-year lease agreement with the City of Parksville, which is set to expire on March 31, and also the sub-lease agreement with the Parksville Curling Club for five years as well. Previously, Parksville city council approved renewal of the lease agreement during its Feb. 19 meeting, while also granting the curling club a five-year permissive tax exemption.

Tom Osborne, manager of recreation and parks, indicated that the demolition of the arena is part of the condition of the agreement between the RDN and the city.

“It’s a liability that needs to be funded,” said Tom Osborne, manager of recreation and parks, who added that in the event the agreement is not renewed at any time in the future, the RDN would already have the money in the bank to pay for the demolition cost.

The regional district’s draft Recreation Services Master Plan recommended that the District 69 Arena continue to operate as a curling rink for as long as the facility is available. The Parksville Curling Club has been growing and the sport is popular in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, which indicates that facility provides the greatest benefit in its current use.

A recent survey conducted by the RDN identified facility usage by area; City of Parksville 27 per cent, Town of Qualicum Beach 10 per cent, Electoral Area E 16 per cent, Electoral Area F 12 per cent, Electoral Area G 24 per cent and Electoral Area H 4 per cent.

A physical assessment of the arena completed in 2014 showed that upgrades to the arena in the range of $350,000 to $500,000 would be required within five years to sustain the facility’s mechanical systems and key structural components.

The Parksville Curling Club has invested approximately $220,000 in improving the facilities, include installation of a low-emission ceiling, lounge renovation, roof repairs, washroom fixtures replacement, HVAC and refrigeration system upgrades, and expanded seating for spectators.

The group has managed to achieve it through grants, fundraising, donations and membership fees. The club has said it is committed to invest in additional capital projects of around $150,000 that are necessary to keep the arena operating as a curling club.

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