Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How will Smiths Falls determine the future of its Youth Arena? Here’s what the feasibility study will look at

The Smiths Falls Youth Arena is nearing the end of its life as the ice plant and pad need replacing – but at what cost? – Laurie Weir photo

The Town of Smiths Falls has commissioned a study to determine the best way to move forward with its aging youth arena.

“These sorts of studies are important when you’re considering how to manage the future of aging infrastructure,” said Director of Community Services Stephanie Clark. “Before we seek to repair something of this magnitude, which is a significant financial undertaking, we need to better understand whether or not this facility continues to meet the need of the community or if there are better options.”

Clark went on to say that the study will work to inform the future recommendations to council and may fundamentally change the landscape of recreation facilities in Smiths Falls.

A media release from the town outlines the key parts of the study as follows:

  • Understanding the need: The town will look at how many people currently use the arena, and what the projected growth might be over the next few years, to help us understand what the demand for the space is. They are also looking at the current sports and recreation landscape so that we can understand the best course of action; three possible outcomes from the study could be: 1) a recommendation to upgrade the existing arena to extend its useful life by approximately 25 years; 2) a recommendation to build a new arena-only facility; or 3) a recommendation to consider building a new multi-purpose indoor facility that includes an ice pad, but allows for other sports and recreation activities. These are just three options, but there could be many others.
  • Figuring out the Costs: The town will calculate how much it would cost to design and build a new arena. If they end up fixing the old one, they will look at the cost of repairs, upgrades, and adding new features. They will also look at how much it will cost to run the arena and how much revenue it could raise to offset operational costs.
  • Talking to the Community: The town wants to hear from you. “We will have surveys, meetings, and talks with community members to make sure that whatever path is recommended meets the needs and values of the community,” the media release reads.
  • Identifying Challenges: The town will look at any problems that might come up, like finding enough money, delays in construction, or rules and legislation they have to follow. They will also come up with plans to deal with these challenges.

Information taken from a media release from the Town of Smiths Falls

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