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Marysville arena vote goes down to the wire

Carolyn Grant

Kimberley Daily Bulletin

It appears the decision on whether to proceed with the $350,000 upgrade to the Marysville Arena ice plant will come down to the wire on Tuesday evening.

Kimberley City Council will make a decision at their regular meeting on February 11 as to whether the $350,000 expenditure will be included in the budget.

Thus far, Mayor Ron McRae and Coun. Albert Hoglund have emphatically stated that they will vote for the repairs.

Councillors Darryl Oakley and Don McCormick are concerned about a mounting list of infrastructure priorities and say that the taxpayer cannot continue to fund everything.

Coun. Jack Ratcliffe has indicated that he will wait until the meeting to make his final decision as he is waiting for a final report from the City's Manager of Recreation Services Tom Sprado.

Coun. Kent Goodwin has not said what his decision will be.

Coun. Bev Middlebrook is wrestling with a decision.

"I find it a very difficult decision," Middlebrook told the Bulletin. "Yes, the arena is used and wanted, but are we a community that can afford two arenas on the backs of our taxpayers?

"I don't want to close it, but we have to be responsible. This community's budget is important to me as well and that's what makes it so tough."

Middlebrook says that the ice plant funds can be carved into this year's budget, but that won't be the end of the expenditures.

"Are youth and recreation important to me? Yes. We are waiting for a report before we decide, but these numbers are realistic; the arena earns $60,000 a year, costs are $180,000 to operate. The cost of ice plant is $350,000, and then the costs of a future, new concrete floor is $600,000."

She says she will read all the reports from staff and emails from the public — which are pouring into City Hall — and decide after all the discussion.

"I love the idea of using the arena more with groups of minor hockey teams coming from Calgary — it brings economic benefits to our community — but that initiative has to come from the public.

"Users of the arena who value and use it need to step forward and come up with some ideas instead of the City just writing a cheque and things continue as they were."

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