Arena upgrades nearly complete

Energy efficient upgrades to the Vanderhoof Municipal Arena nearing completion

Upgrades to the Vanderhoof Municipal Arena are nearly complete.

As part of a $309,800 general capital project, the arena has undergone several building improvements that are expected to be finished very soon.

So far, local contractors have installed roof insulation and retrofitted the ceiling with new lighting fixtures to improve energy efficiency and cut power costs.

Using gas-tax rebates, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako contributed $43,000 and $29,000 for the lighting and insulation upgrades respectively, said Mayor Gerry Thiessen.

Dasher boards, a much needed component of the arena upgrades that remains incomplete, are being replaced by a Vancouver-based company at an estimated cost of $165,000, half of which will be covered by a grant from the Nechako-Kitimat Development Fund.

“They were beginning to sag, so there were some safety issues and they had to be replaced,” said Joe Ukryn, chief administrative officer for the Town of Vanderhoof.

In addition to the arena upgrades, council set aside about $105,000 to purchase a new Zamboni that would replace the town’s aging ice-resurfacing machine.

“Everything has got a life, and its life was up,” said Ukryn.

The new dasher boards are expected to be installed by the end of the month, just as the arena starts evolving into the busiest building in Vanderhoof, said arena manager Shallon Touet.

“It’s the focal point of the community for six months minimum,” said Touet.

“At least that’s my opinion, but I am a little biased.”

Upcoming events at the arena include old-timer hockey games on Nov. 9, 10 and 11. An Omineca Ice Game takes place on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., with PeeWee tournaments on Nov. 24 and 25. Public skating, youth skating, family skating and drop-in hockey schedules can be found at Vanderhoof.ca/District/Departments/ArenaParks/Arena.html.