Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A proper study needs to be done on the High Prairie Sports Palace and curling rink so council can plan for the future with the best information possible.

It was the consensus after council approved to spend $13,800 for an asset replacement study at its April 13 meeting.

CAO Rod Risling told council the study “needs to be done” because it has “come to light” that the Sports Palace “needs quite a bit of repair.”

Needing to be replaced are the old furnaces, the tar/gravel roof, and the arena’s concrete pad, which has several brine leaks. Cost for that project alone is estimated at least $300,000.

“What would it cost to keep that thing going for another 10-15 years?” asked Risling.

“Put a plan together. What costs are coming up…”

Later, Risling added council has to make some decisions which involve “big dollars very soon.”

Mayor Brian Panasiuk said Big Lakes County may be willing to pay half the cost of the study.

“Regardless, it’s our facility and we need to get it done,” he said.

“I see the need for it,” said Councillor Brian Gilroy.

But, he added council has many times just taken money from reserves thereby depleting the account.

“I think we need to be very careful. It’s going to bite us in the end.”

Councillor Michael Long asked how the potential $300,000 would affect taxes.

“How are [we] paying for this?” he asked.

“We do need a plan,” replied Risling.

Councillor Judy Stenhouse said council needs to look at the entire recreation department and make some “serious decisions” about what High Prairie will offer moving forward.

“I agree with Councillor Stenhouse,” said Councillor Donna Deynaka, adding council has to look at what they can afford.

“Seriously, be prepared to make some big, tough, ugly decisions,” she warned regarding the budget.

“We can’t afford all the luxuries we’ve got.

“It’s not going to be fun.”

Still, the motion did pass to do the study. It pleased Panasiuk, who said council will be able to make a “better educated decision.”

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