Council will seek proposals to build a new rink with up to four sheets of ice as a quick fix to the city’s growing ice crunch.
“We will deal with the growing demand and aging ice surfaces later,” said Betty Lou Killen of HRM community development. “It’s a much larger issue.”
Currently, there are 21 ice surfaces in the municipality, and they’re running at about 99 per cent capacity. The number of surfaces could soon shrink to 18, Killen says.
She said the city needs to raise that number to at least 22. Having 25 ice spaces — the short-term goal — would address the immediate demand and provide a bit of a buffer, she added.
Yesterday, council agreed with a staff recommendation to put out a request for proposals for the new arena. It will house either two sheets of ice (costing between $17 million and $22 million) or four (costing between $22 million and 30 million).
It’s expected to be built by fall 2009, staff said.
The location is still undecided. City staff said they’re waiting to see if the proposals, which will come in September, include using private land.
In her presentation to council, Killen said multi-surface arenas are beneficial to the community because they’re convenient, cheaper than building individual rinks and more cost effective to run.
A facility master plan, which will look at aging arenas in the municipality and adding ice surfaces to existing arenas, will be completed in about two years.