With delays in getting mould removed from the community arena, along with other needed upgrades, hamlet council in Cambridge Bay is preparing to embark on a fundraising campaign for a new recreation complex.
Getting a new facility will take several years and will likely cost $20-30 million, senior administrative officer Marla Limousin estimated. It won’t negate the need to have the existing arena repaired, but council has decided to start the quest for financing for a new rec complex sooner than later, said Limousin.
The existing arena didn’t open to the public at all this past winter due to the spreading mould. Federal funding of $4.2 million was announced in February 2016 to address the mould, install a new concrete surface with a thermosiphon system to extend the ice season. The building also needs a new fire-suppressant system.
Efforts to get the mould removal done late last year and earlier this year were scuttled as the Department of Community and Government Services (CGS) and the hamlet tried to hammer out details of how to retain a contractor and which party would be responsible for overseeing various aspects of the work, Limousin explained.
A hamlet council meeting held May 23 resulted in municipal leaders deciding to leave the project entirely in the hands of the GN, she said.
“We don’t have the resources or the expertise to deal with it,” said Limousin, who added that having the arena closed for another winter is not an option.
“We cannot lose it again. And that was portrayed by council last night, very heartfelt. It was really bad for families and kids this year without having a hockey program or a skating program… It is a place where no community wants to find themselves.”
CGS didn’t respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Jeannie Ehaloak, Cambridge Bay’s MLA and former mayor, didn’t reply to emailed questions and couldn’t be reached for an interview.
A new recreation complex has been at or near the top of the capital projects list in Cambridge Bay for close to 15 years now, Limousin said. A new complex may also include a larger community hall, one that can exceed the 200-person capacity limitation in place at the existing hall.
“We’re getting a lot more trade shows and bigger types of meetings than we can handle at our community hall,” she said.