Artist's rendering of new Pitt Meadows Arena shows entrance.

Artist's rendering of new Pitt Meadows Arena shows entrance.

City soon will have new rink

Renos done by 2012 on long-suffering Pitt Meadows Arena

  • Aug. 16, 2011 10:00 a.m.

The Pitt Meadows Arena is now a year into its $8.6-million renovation, and for hockey, lacrosse, and ringette players who have been playing in a construction zone for the past 12 months, the end is in sight.

And despite the price tag, taxpayers will save about $4 million, says Mayor Don MacLean, who in 2009, said building a three-rink arena from scratch would cost $12 million. That number since has jumped to $21 million.

The project is expected to be completed by early 2012, with much of the exterior work having been completed this summer, including the two-storey glass facade.

However, Don Cramb, recreation manager for parks and leisure services, says much of the work being done is behind the scenes where the public may not notice it, with more than 50 per cent of the budget focusing on mechanical and electrical upgrades.

Two major components of the upgrade have been the replacement of the long-leaking roof and the shoring up of the wooden piles the arena sits upon to make the building safe in the event of an earthquake.

“It’s a great asset for the community and its something [the city doesn’t] want to lose so they are investing quite a few dollars to keep this place up and running,” Cramb said.

“If nothing was done with the building, we would be in big trouble five, six years from now.”

Cramb said the upgrades have effectively tripled the lifespan of the facility, which was built in 1992.

Along with a new energy-efficient insulated roof, the arena’s heating and ventilation system has also been replaced, while the arena’s exterior walls have been insulated and recladded with tough, weather resistant panels.

The upgrades should make the building more than 30 per cent more energy efficient, says general manager Ray Boogaards.

Currently, the arena’s red and gold rinks are closed, while the change rooms have been relocated to bank of portables in front of the building, as the rotting plywood and drywall rooms inside the arena are replaced with brick.

Boogaards expects the new change rooms to completed by the end of October.

The final product will feature renovated change rooms, new bleachers, HD television screens, and a new concession and lounge with elevator access.

Boogaards said the arena is still looking for a vendor to operate the arena’s concession stand and lounge, but noted a deal with an operator who will offer healthy food options was close.

The arena was originally built in 1992 under a partnership with CDI Enterprises, which built and temporarily ran the facility. After the company went into receivership in the late 1990s, the Ridge Meadows Arena Society took over the facility and its mortgage.

In 2007, however, the city cancelled its lease agreement with the society and effectively took over operation of the rink, hiring management firm Nustadia to run the facility since April.

The initial plan for the rink renovation was to see construction completed over a five-year span.

However, the City of Pitt Meadows revised that timeline earlier this year to ensure all major aspects of the renovation were done by the end of the year. Poor weather this summer delayed the completion of the new roof.

The cost of the renovations have jumped considerably since the project was first proposed, from $5.3 million to $8.6 million, due to unforeseen repairs to the piles the arena sits on, as well as fast-tracked timeline.

But Cramb affirmed the cost is still cheaper than it would be to be build a new arena.

“[These renovations] will keep it running for the future and to make it safer for every one.”