Feasibility study for Smiths Falls Youth Arena tops $80,000 budget

Smiths Falls Youth Arena
The Smiths Falls Youth Arena is set to undergo a feasibility study to determine the best way to move forward with the recreation facility. Nustadia Recreation was the successful bidder on the project, which came in at $81,337 — $1,337 over budget. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.
Posted on: June 12, 2024

A budget of $80,000 for a feasibility study on the Smiths Falls Youth Arena enticed two bids. 

Stephanie Clark, the town’s director of community services, shared with Smiths Falls committee of the whole on June 10 that they would like to proceed with Nustadia Recreation, a company whose bid came in at $81,337.77, inclusive of the town’s portion of the HST. 

The other bid “did not meet the technical requirements,” she said. 

“The unfortunate piece is that they (Nustadia Recreation) are slightly over budget.”

The purpose of the feasibility study is to evaluate the condition and viability of the Youth Arena facility. With the existing infrastructure nearing or at the end of its operational life, this study aims to provide a thorough analysis to determine whether refurbishing or replacing the ice plant and pad is the most prudent and beneficial course of action for the community and its stakeholders.

The results of this study will offer essential insights and recommendations to guide the Council’s decision-making process regarding the future of the Youth Arena. Through this initiative, the goal is to ensure the community has access to a safe, sustainable, and vibrant recreational space, in line with our commitment to fostering the well-being and development of residents.

Clark said the study will determine “which path makes the most sense.”

She said they are faced with a significant investment, “potentially,” to maintain status quo. 

“That may be the best option,” she said. “We’re trying to figure that out.”

The ice plant is near or at the end of its life and they will have to make a decision to replace the floor, dasher boards and they get comments on the size of the change rooms, she said, as well as the temperature of the facility.

The study will determine if it’s worth the investment to keep it updated, a retrofit is required, or a new build is needed. 

Coun. Peter McKenna asked if this is part of the Recreation Master Plan, to which Clark stated that it will give them a better understanding of a multi-use facility. The master plan states that the use of the second pad should be monitored. 

“I understand use was struggling (prior to COVID), but we have a different reality now … both arenas are full,” she said. 

McKenna asked if this was a time for those interested in the space, for instance, to use as pickleball courts, would now be a good time to speak up?

“If at such time when the feasibility study comes back and says you need to move away from a single pad use toward a multi-use facility, that’s when we would open up that conversation,” Clark said. 

The study will give them direction – and what that looks like, she added. 

“There will be an opportunity for people to provide comment, so we will negotiate that because I want to make sure we have the community involved,” Clark said. 

Mayor Shawn Pankow asked about the timeline for the study (by fall, to be completed) and if there will be any needed capital improvements this year. 

A new header, which is part of the refrigerator system is needed but they haven’t pursued that yet as they wanted to go down the road of the feasibility study first, Clark noted. 

“We want to make sure if we’re investing money then it makes sense,” she said, but they should know soon if this piece of equipment will be needed within the next couple months. 

Pankow asked if they are at risk of having no ice in the Youth Arena for the start of next season.

Clark said they are spending a significant amount of money “putting fingers in the holes” at this point. “It’s not as efficient as it could be and we are at risk of catastrophic failure where we could lose the pad but … I think we take enough steps to make sure we mitigate that risk as best as possible.”

The longer it’s pushed, the more challenges they will encounter, Clark said.

Councillors agreed it was time to move forward with the study.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News