Seeing into the future is always a challenge.
As the events of the past few years have shown, our daily realities can change unexpectedly and surprisingly quickly.
And it is almost impossible to find a really good quality Crystal Ball these days.
Fortunately, when it comes to looking ahead at the prospect of constructing a new arena in Kipling, there are other (far more reliable) tools available that can help determine the feasibility of such a project.
Although the current arena in Kipling can be expected to last for some time yet, Mayor Pat Jackson notes that the building does have a “shelf life”.
“The reality is that the ‘best before” date for our current arena might have passed some time ago. But, with the work that has been completed already, as well as the work that will be proceeding this year, Council is confident that the community will continue to have a safe and viable facility for the present.
“Based on the Engineer’s Reports that we’ve received, these upgrades will also mean that we can expect to get another 15 good years out of the current building. So, that’s the time frame we’re looking at in terms of planning ahead for the possible construction of a new arena.”
Over the next few months, Mayor Jackson says that a Feasibility Study to assess the prospect of constructing a new arena will be conducted.
“A Feasibility Study really is the necessary first step in this process. We have received $28,500 in Targeted Sector Support from the Provincial Government to assist with the $38,000 cost of the study. The Town of Kipling will be responsible for 50 per cent of the remaining cost with the RMs of Kingsley and Hazelwood taking up 34 per cent and 16 per cent of that cost respectively. The study will be conducted over the next several months and will be completed by Oct. 13, 2023.
“Collier Project Leaders will be conducting this Feasibility Study for us. They have worked with us on other projects (such as the Water Treatment Plant Upgrade). And the team we’ll be working with this time has experience with other similar projects – including the arena in Assiniboia.
“The team doing this Feasibility Study will look at various options based on cost, needs and wants. That will involve a discussion of what the community’s needs are and which ‘wants’ should be placed at the top of the list.
“They will also develop High Level Cost Analysis for the project that will look at construction costs, operating costs, and life-cycle costs (including potential replacement cost) for the new building.
“It’s very important that all three of these factors (including future replacement costs) be considered in the Cost Analysis. I will not be around to see a new arena come to the end of its life cycle. A future Council will be dealing with that. But our hope is that the work we’re doing now will give that future Council something that will help them in their decision making.”
Mayor Jackson adds that determining the level of community support for the project will also be a vital part of the Feasibility Study.
“The Feasibility Study will involve several Joint Leisure Services Committee meetings. But there will be Public Meetings also, and those will be crucial. With a project that is this large, we can’t go ahead without being certain that this is something that the community wants.
“The bottom line is that constructing a new arena is going to cost a rather large pile of money. Currently, we’re looking at an estimated cost of well over $15 million dollars. That is an estimate based on reasonable prediction of what will happen to construction costs for such a facility over the next 10 years.
“Over the past three years, we have all experienced the way that circumstances beyond our control can impact us. We must keep that in mind when we look at that estimate.
“There will very likely be funding available for such a project. We will certainly apply for such funding, and we are optimistic that we will receive it. But even if that is the case, that funding will not cover everything.
“The community (and by community I am including not only the Town of Kipling but the surrounding Rural Municipalities as well) will be required to shoulder a substantial cost.
“So, the three municipalities that are overseeing this through the Joint Leisure Services Committee (the Town of Kipling and the Rural Municipalities of Kingsley and Hazelwood) will be eager to hear feedback from the community at those meetings.”
She adds that while all of the variables outlined in the study will provide the basis for future discussions and decisions, the level of community support for the project will be a key consideration.
“This Feasibility Study will provide us with a solid analysis of all the factors that must be considered in deciding whether to go ahead with the process of building a new arena, and what kind of facility will be constructed if we do go ahead.
“But the feedback we receive and the level of support for this project that exists within the community could well be the determining factor. To state the matter simply, we will need to see a solid commitment from the community in order for this to proceed.”
Seeing into the future is always a challenge.