Report from city recommends demolishing Ops Community Centre

By Kirk Winter

It will take $300,000 just to demolish the arena.

In a report to be presented to council on March 8, Craig Shanks, director of community services, asks that the city include in 2023 capital budget deliberations $300,000 to be used for the demolition of Ops Community Centre.

While council will not formally vote on Shanks’ recommendations until March 22, it is expected that a majority on council will support the decision and re-purposing of the property.

Since 2020, the city has considered many possibilities for the repurposing and/or renovation of the Ops Community Centre facility while keeping it as an arena. The most expensive of these potential do-overs would have only been feasible with financial support from the provincial and/or federal government. The city also considered the installation of an all- weather floor in place of the ice for use by soccer, volleyball, baseball and rugby, but that idea too has likely been rejected.

“As a result of continued deterioration, no funds for capital upkeep and no operation of the facility, the roof system (and other components) of the entire facility have failed and the building is now in a state of disrepair and needs demolition,” Shanks writes.

Shanks adds that the decommissioning of the ice-plant is underway and there is hope that some of the associated refrigeration equipment can be saved and used at other arenas across the city.

“Considering the current situation,” Shanks writes, “a complete demolition of the entire Ops Community Centre is required. This is not just the ice pad but also includes the community hall portion of the facility. Therefore, repurposing the structure is no longer an economically feasible option.”

Shanks writes to council that previous surveys of the community, input to staff and general feedback expressed a “limited desire” for the need of an indoor, dry-floor recreation space, and has not proved a substantiated need for such a facility.

“With the potential use of school board properties and gymnasiums being re-initiated and the lesser cost to community groups for those uses, there remains no demonstrated need for a new…space. Previous use of the community hall can be accommodated within the existing inventory within municipal facilities,” Shanks writes.

Shanks believes that the required demolition will allow “for the continued use of the property, with greater parking availability, as a community parkland and sports field space, and for the Ops Fire Station to continue operating.”

“At this time, it is not economically feasible for the city to invest in a replacement facility; indoor dry floor recreational or community hall in nature,” Shanks concludes. 

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