By Greg Price
Taber Recreation Board has recommended to town council it only allow two rentals to occur in the Taber Community Centre Arena during the hockey off-season between early April and mid-July in 2017.
That is because of the arena compressor room project, which began this year and has been phased over a three-year plan for the massive project.
“In 2016 in the budget, phase one went through, and we’ve been working diligently with engineering on that project,” said Aline Holmen, director of recreation for the Town of Taber, in discussion period before the motion was passed unanimously at the Taber Recreation Board’s Sept. 8 meeting. “The equipment was ordered this year with the intention of installation for next year. During the time we require for the contractor to be working from April 4 to July 11, we usually have several rentals in there. Like the Bike Rodeo and last year it was Ignite Your Spark and a few other things.”
With the Air Cadet 75th Anniversary March coming up (May 6, 2017) along with the W.R. Myers Graduation (May 22-29, 2017) administration noted those two big events could be worked around without disrupting too much flow.
“We say let the two largest events be allowed to happen, but nothing else, because otherwise it would completely delay our project,” said Holmen, adding if more than the two events were allowed for rentals of the space that needs to be worked on, it has the potential of delaying the project another year. “Myers graduation, that is a large contingency and they really don’t have many places they can hold their function. The cadet march has a lot of delegations coming down with people coming to town for this event and they need a place to do it.”
Any delays in the compressor project has a chance of throwing a wrench into the negotiations with the Ver-Set Skills Camp hockey school returning to the Taber Arena, as its three-year contract expired in 2016 and is up for re-negotiation.
The compressor project is huge in scope, a complete overhaul with the electrical, compressor and pumps etc.
“That is why we phased it over three years, because of cost,” said Holmen.
Recreation board member Andrew Prokop inquired to administration during discussion period of how it takes a week to do Myers grad.
“They usually start on the Monday decorating and then decorate all week long, cap and gown is the Friday, the grad is the Saturday and then they clean up on the Sunday,” said Holmen. “With the compressor project, the first thing that has to happen is the electrical, so we can push that, that has to happen earlier.”
There were five events that were put on this past year in the designated time frame in which Holmen noted in an inquiry by board chairman Luke Wijna, that the same-ice service would not be affected by the project if it is needed in a pinch.
“I think it’s a good idea. The juice has to be worth the squeeze. If we lose one, two, three months of hockey with delays, is it worth it for extra rentals during that time?” asked Joel Mills, recreation board member.
Randy Sparks, recreation board member made the motion that the recreation board recommend to town council that no rentals be allowed in the Taber Community Centre Arena from April 4 to July 11, 2017 with the exception of the Air Cadet 75th Anniversary March and the W.R. Myers Graduation to allow the arena compressor upgrade project to proceed on schedule.