by Colin Smith
Repairs have begun on the Ray McDonald Sports Center, so the arena will be closed Monday to Friday until 4 p.m. from Feb. 2 to 20. All programs scheduled during that time will relocate to the Outdoor Rink.
The closure doesn’t include Family Day, Feb. 16, so Snowman Festival activities are unaffected, and there is no impact on evening and weekend programs.
According to Morinville Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Ozaryun, repairs consist of installation of reinforcement brackets to enhance the truss-to-column connections at several points.
“The repairs will allow the arena to remain open beyond this hockey season,” Ozaryun said. “Upon completion of the repairs, a follow-up assessment to determine the potential to extend the operation of the facility further will be done by the engineering firm that recommended the repairs.
Once the repairs and the engineering assessment are complete, Administration will provide Council with a report with a recommendation regarding [the] status of the facility.
Repairs costs are covered by a $150,000 allocation approved Dec. 15, 2014, when Council held a special meeting of Morinville Town Council to give Third Reading tot he budget.
Last year Council made the decision to replace the aged hockey arena and curling rink with a new facility. Following a lengthy planning process, the site for a new arena/recreation centre was announced by Mayor Lisa Holmes on Jan. 27.
The new facility will be located on a 77-acre site east of East Boundary Road and north of Highway 642.
The exact nature of the facility has yet to be determined. The first round of stakeholder consultations on what form it should take is concluding Thursday night. Further rounds of consultation are coming after the facilitator formulates a report to Council on what the first round revealed.
The decades-old Ray McDonald Sports Center, originally an aircraft hanger transported from Namao, has faced problems for many years.
Heavy rains in the summer of 2012 resulted in garbage cans being used to collect the water leaking through a separating roof.
Examination of the arena roof by AECOM at that time recommended replacement of the unsound roof and the Town administration identified a safety hazard if it remained as it was.
In October of that year, Town Council allotted $300,000 for a full repair of the roof.
Above: 2012 photo of roof area prior to a $300,000 repair project. Additional repairs are underway currently. – Morinville News File Photo