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October 27, 2017 8:38 pm

Ice Oval Funding Certainly in the Discussion

Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 7:00 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Cautious optimism may be a good way to describe the feeling around the Outdoor Ice Oval Society of Prince George’s effort to secure funding for a $3.7 million refrigeration system for the oval at Exhibition Park.

At its September 19th meeting City Council approved the society’s request to have the projectoval1 referred to the City’s unfunded list in the 2018 Five Year Capital Plan. That move allowed the society to seek funding from the provincial and federal governments while at the same time proceeding with its own “Chill The Oval” campaign to raise $500,000 toward the system.
The society is holding its AGM in a couple of weeks on November 7th at which time it will be releasing more information on that campaign. In the meantime, in regard to possible provincial monies being available OIO Society President Kathy Lewis told 250 News recently that “I actually made a request to (Community, Sport and Cultural Development) Minister (Peter) Fassbender, that was facilitated by Shirley Bond, so I’m hopeful that we will be able to work something out with them. I’m fairly optimistic about that.”
For her part Prince George-Valemount MLA and provincial cabinet minister Bond told 250 News that both she and Prince George-Mackenzie MLA and cabinet minister Mike Morris have had productive discussions with the society and have been briefed on their plans. “Certainly we recognize,” says Bond “that having consistent ice quality is pretty important to attracting large events and international competitions and also for use for local residents.”
“I’ve taken the opportunity to speak to Minister Fassbender, who is responsible for the sporting file and the gaming file in Victoria, so good constructive discussion, obviously a big ask in terms of financial support but we’re just going to continue to be supportive and try to find ways to help this organization, they’ve done a great job.”
Bond says “I think it’s always important that Victoria is aware of the needs that we have here and the biggest issue is that there’s lots of asks and lots of high-priority projects. But we do know that having affordable opportunities for families to enjoy being outside and being active is important.”
She also says that the fact the OIO Society is earnestly raising some of the money needed for the refrigeration plant is a strong display of its sincerity and dedication. “Well certainly anytime that funding is raised that is an important factor because it does allow them to leverage those monies and I think it does speak to their dedication and hard work when they’re talking about this being a partnership. I know that they’ll be having a number of asks, including to the federal government potentially under the Canada 150 (Community Infrastructure) Program, those kinds of things. So I think its important as a locally-elected MLA our job is to take all of the asks to Victoria, work hard and make sure that we’re doing our very best to acquire funds.”
Bond says community backing and council interest certainly show support for the society’s work on this project.


Good grief. Another special interest group that we’re going into debt to support. Who knows who here?

There’s a whack of kid sports groups in this town that need help but since they don’t know the MLAs they’re SOL.

Half a million for the Cougars and their asinine video display. Half a million for the track and field club and Masich Place. Now, half a million for the ice oval. 15 million for Kin 1. Wow, where do the rest of us line up?

    Hi axman,

    The largest user group for the outdoor ice oval is indeed the Prince George Blizzard speed skating club. They are a youth organization. So, I guess that would make them one of the “whack of kids sports groups” that you refer to. I know you just love to bitch and complain, but at least think before you starting mashing the keys.

      They have their 15 million dollar Kin 1 arena. They need an outdoor rink as well? Hardly one of the “whack of kid sports groups in town” needing help.

Just curious….what the cost would be to run the refrigeration plant per season. We never get to hear that part of the equation.

    it could vary depending on how cold the winter is.
    The colder it is the less it should cost as it will not be needed…
    in theory anyways.

Nor do we get good stats as to the number of people who would actually use this facility. My guess is not many.

The City cries that it is broke with its left hand, and spends money like a drunken sailor with its right hand.

Time to take a break from spending, and start to do some serious cost cutting, and look at reducing taxes.

Only in PG. The city is broke, our taxes our through the roof, infrastructure is decaying.. but lets put an ice plant outside to appease 500 people.

    I love this mentality. I don’t use the ice oval, therefor no one does! Where did the 500 people number come from? Oh of course, thin air!

    ohhh think they are using that Rob guy’s wages to pay for this since he doesn’t seem to be around anymore

Fort St. John has an indoor oval.

Could someone please give us some information about how many are using that ice oval for racing practice as well as competition events which might bring people to town and inject some money now and then.

Is there a circuit which would bring a few events a year to this community?

How many facilities does Canada have, both indoor and outdoor and how ell are they doing?

BTW, my biased opinion is that this money is better not spent at all or spent on some other City recreation/cultural want.

This is definitely not a need.

Perhaps we can see any progress the City has made in the last two years in how to make such decisions based on a bit more objective criteria.

” …… that having consistent ice quality is pretty important to attracting large events and international competitions”

Have those events been identified, including the probability of those coming to PG, what the number of visitors they would attract would be, etc.

I would like to see that compared to the softball tournaments we have from the point of view of money spent by visitors to this community. Where does long track competition stand with respect to other sports.

Also, how are we doing with short track racing events? Are there circuits for that and what is our participation in those events, if any?

We need to be told the whole story, not just bits and pieces here and there. That has been the method of operation for far too long in PG.

All of these nice to have projects like the ice oval and the library entrance should be put on hold until such a time that there are no basic building maintenance projects on the unfunded list.

When it take a consultant to point out that the brick facade is cracked and falling off on the exterior of the aquatic center it is proof to me that something is very wrong at city hall. Another example is the stucco starting to fall off the CN center on the unfunded list…..the price will rise by leaps and bounds once moisture gets in behind. It is no wonder that the old police station was deemed not worth repair and the Four Seasons approaching that point.

Back to the oval. Has anyone looked at how many extra days of use they could expect given our changing winters over recent years. Rain or sleet would likely make oval unusable even with the refridgeration as the surface would be pebbled like a curling rink.

    An issue of over priced useless administrators more than anything. I think the money is there, it’s how it’s managed and allocated that is the problem here. This has always been the problem in PG.

    I’m sure the schools would take advantage of using the outdoor rink and for cleaning, I’m sure that’s already thought of..

      all the current city ice facilities are empty during the day, students can have any indoor ice they want right now… why on earth is this an issues? Ah right, it isn’t

As far as sports facilities goes I think this is the next priority for PG.

I don’t buy the tournament needs argument though. I think it can stand on its own merits as a low cost family outing opportunity where kids can skate and get healthy. I think it would not only extend the season for skating, but if it has a concrete service it would be a year round facility.

I would volunteer to help, but I work too much… So I don’t mind some of my tax dollars dedicated to this kind of improvement to our city.

    I remember a time when the local tennis courts were the place to be. Every community in town had one and in the evenings they were all busy with skaters. One could show up and usually join in on any games being played. Usually the players would be divided up so as to make the games close and everyone had fun. It was the place to go to find out who and what was going on in town and meet your neighbors or even people from other areas of town at the rink.

    PG lost all that at some point about 15-20 years ago. Now the rinks are not built anymore, and when they are they aren’t maintained or used much. Maybe it’s the video game culture of today’s youth, but I think it was killed by over regulation and insurance issues by the city. Hopefully a sustained ice oval could help to reverse the decline in winter outdoor skating in PG.

      I don’t think hockey sticks are allowed at the oval.

      “Hopefully a sustained ice oval could help to reverse the decline in winter outdoor skating in PG.”

      Hope should never have a part in any monetary decision.

      It’s like saying Hopefully this is the lotto ticket that wins.

      Outdoor rinks are alive and well in Prince George. In College Heights alone there are rinks behind Home Depot, at CHSS, at Malaspina Elementary, and at the Eton Tennis courts. It’s not all doom and gloom folks.

Tennis courts? The city closed a majority of them because they had become dangerous to use because of nonexistent maintenance. They said the rest would be brought up to snuff……25K in the 2016 budget…..unfunded!

If you look at the 2016-2020 capital projects there are $167 million in the funded column and $115 million in the unfunded column. So 40% of the projects the city wants to do over the next 5 years has no money attached. Add the $60 million the consultant recommended for the pools and over half are left begging. At this rate it will be hard to even fund the basic necessities never mind the little extras.

Time to rattle some cages and change some faces in city hall. Beth James might have been the wrong person but the idea was right. Promoting Kathleen Soltis to city manager was a mistake as she was part of the problem that has existed since Derek Bates tenure.All the department heads have their own little kingdoms and basically answer to no one. The old boys(and girls) club is alive and well. Mayor Hall is afraid to ruffle any feathers in administration and will fold like a cheap tent next contract talks with the union.

Public skating on Mondays at the Coliseum got cancelled when renos to Kin one took place. The excuse being the ice time was needed. Kin one is back up and running and Monday public skating at the Coliseum still non existent.
Not sure we need more ice skating facilities when the present rinks are under utilized during the daytime.

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