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Yorkton Kinsmen Arena upgrade a step closer to final approval

The work will make the Kinsmen arena unavailable from January through August 2025.
kinsmen arena
Project components include replacement of the arena slab, all refrigeration piping, rink boards, and glass, code and ice plant upgrades, and dehumidification. (File Photo)

YORKTON - Proposed Kinsmen Arena ice system upgrades appear to be finally undertaken, but the exact extent of the work that might be carried out, or the cost to the city are not clear.

The need for the work has been known for years, as was pointed out by Taylor Morrison, Director of Recreation & Community Services with the city at the regular meeting of Council Monday. He noted it was at the November 15, 2021 Council meeting, Council was presented a report on the condition of both the Kinsmen Arena and Westland Arena ice systems, in which both needed significant improvements.

At that time Council passed a resolution indicating “that a decision be deferred to the 2022 budget process, where Administration would provide funding options and scenarios for Council consideration as part of the 2022 budget process.”

The 2022 and 2023 capital budget included two ice system projects, one for the Westland Arena ice plant upgrade at a cost of $1,085,000 and one for the Kinsmen at a cost of $2,775,000.

The Westland Arena project started in 2022 and was completed in 2023 and included removing and installing new compressors, relocating access into the plant room to meet building and refrigeration safety codes, a new emergency relief stack, and replacement of various pumps, motors, and other system controls, said Morrison.

The Kinsmen Arena project started in 2023 with community and user group engagement, with construction slated to begin January 2025 and be completed by September 2025, pending Council direction on the project, he added.

Project components include replacement of the arena slab, all refrigeration piping, rink boards, and glass, code and ice plant upgrades, and dehumidification.

But costs rose.

As construction and project costs continue to rise, and after reviewing similar projects that had recently been completed, Administration proposed an increase to the Kinsmen Arena project in the 2024 capital budget. An additional $725,000.00 from the 2025 capital budget was approved giving a total project budget of $3,500,000.00, explained Morrison.

In May the project went to tender with three bids received, the lowest from PCL Construction Management Inc, for $4,110,786.

To provide the approved scope of work for this project based on the lowest bid received, the existing budget of $3,500,000, said Morrison citing the main reason for this increase is due to the rising costs of construction, allowance for contingency now that project bids have been received, and costs related to project insurance.

Funding for the work was always scheduled to come from the city’s Recreation Levy, with the Deer Park Clubhouse, Westland Arena Ice System, and Kinsmen Arena Ice System projects are internally funded by the Levy over the next several years, said Morrison. The increase to the Kinsmen Arena project would require an additional one year’s use of the Recreation Levy to pay off all three projects.

With the increase the Recreation Levy would be allocated through 2030, becoming available for the 2031 budget cycle.

The annual Recreation Levy amounts to approximately $1.15 million dollars.

The initial motion by Councillor Ken Chyz was to direct Administration to proceed with the Kinsmen Arena Ice Systems Upgrades project with a revised total budget of $4,308,015.00 to be funded by the Recreation Levy, and award the tender for the project to PCL Construction Management Inc..

But, it soon became clear the majority of Council wanted to trim costs, and Chyz’s motion was defeated with only he and Coun. Randy Goulden in favour.

Alternatively Coun. Chris Wyatt made a motion that Council direct Administration to proceed with issuing an ‘Intent to Award’ Notice to PCL Construction for the Kinsmen Arena Ice Systems Upgrades Project and further that Administration and PCL Construction explore options to reduce the scope of work resulting in lower project budget and report back to Council, which carried.

That report to Council is expected by the next meeting of Council.

There is some expediency required as Morrison noted that the work will make the Kinsmen arena unavailable from January through August 2025.