If all goes according to plan, the Indus Recreation Centre’s ice-twinning project will take its first tentative steps toward actual construction this year.
Bow Valley Agricultural Society (BVAS) ice expansion committee members Rebecca Miller and Marilyn Gosling told Rocky View County’s (RVC) Public Presentation Committee on April 19 that they had put together enough funding to start work on site servicing for the newly proposed ice sheet this year.
They also hope to construct a stormwater collection system and a parking lot on site in 2023 as well.
Miller told committee members that the ag society, which is the managing body for the Indus Recreation Centre, will also be working with RVC administration to finally get their development permit approved for a second ice sheet.
A second ice sheet for the Indus arena has been on the books since at least 2007, and is listed in the RVC Recreation Master Plan as a priority for the County. BVAS members estimate it would cost about $7.5 million to build the second ice sheet, which would service not only Indus but Langdon and Dalemead area residents as well.
The original estimate when first proposed in 2007 put the build closer to $5 million, but inflationary pressures forced BVAS to revise their budget estimates last year.
RVC provided a grant of $90,000 to BVAS to help pay for site servicing for the new ice sheet, but Miller said the cost estimate for doing the work would be about $230,000.
The ag society has managed to raise enough funds from private sources to cover the difference, but Miller made an additional $85,000 ask of RVC on behalf of the organization to help pay for the costs of the development permit process, as well as $10,000 for engineering consulting fees, and an estimated $17,000 for a wetland assessment during last Wednesday’s meeting. Those requests will be considered by RVC council at a future regular meeting.
Division 7 (Langdon) Coun. Al Schule asked Miller when BVAS actually hopes to begin construction on the full facility, given it has already been in progress for many years.
“Our project has been a pay-as-you-go project,” Miller responded. “We’ve done the fundraising to get us to this point. We have always matched funding when Rocky View County has come forward with grants. So we have tried to be compliant with that funding request.”
Miller said they have managed to cobble together about $500,000 in committed funding to this project, but were still seeking additional grants or funds from other sources – including the Alberta government.
“We’ve really focused on trying to show this council, and show (RVC) administration, that the community is behind this project, but it’s contingent on funding,” she said.
Questions were raised back in February as to when Indus might get the rink built. RVC’s Governance Committee approved the business plan that same month for a new $32 million recreational facility in nearby Langdon.
Citing the increasing costs and the length of time the Indus project has been in pre-development planning, Coun. Schule asked at that Feb. 1 Governance Committee meeting whether it was still worth it to pursue a second ice sheet in Indus. He felt council should possibly consider prioritizing construction of a new ice arena in Langdon instead, while working on the new Langdon recreational facility that has also been in the works for many years.
“The Indus (twin arena) extension has been going on for 15 years,” Schule said at the time. “I understand they are having issues extending their rink for what was originally proposed due to the change in building (costs).
“Does it make sense to contribute to Indus more or give that money we are contributing to Indus, and build an ice rink now (in Langdon)?”
Langdon Community Association chair Chrissy Craig also said at the time that residents of the hamlet were questioning why a new ice sheet had not been included as part of their new facility’s design instead of continuing to prioritize a second, long-awaited ice sheet in nearby Indus to serve the local hockey community.
“I know the community has really wanted an ice rink, and that’s the biggest thing the community will be missing out on in there,” Craig said back when the business plan was approved. “Ice is needed. It is very much a hockey community. So the ice rink is not in there, and that’s the only disappointment. The other items are needed just as much, but it would have been nice to see an ice rink.”
However, RVC council has never approved full funding for the Indus twin ice project, and is requiring BVAS to raise most of the funds required from other sources before the municipality contributes any substantial capital to the project.
RVC has committed to provide an additional $600,000 grant toward the project, and has offered to guarantee a loan of just over $1 million if BVAS is able to secure at least 80 per cent of their own funding for the project.
Miller said doing site servicing work on the project and getting its development permit approved this year would be a major step forward toward having the site shovel-ready, and, hopefully, granting BVAS access to other levels of capital funding.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,” she explained, “and this is all about government coming to the table. Maybe with this next election, we will be more successful.”