Arenas throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes will remain open after city council adopted recommendations from a working group.
In 2016 the city held an extensive core service review which included recommendations to close some of the community arenas in the municipality.
However, in December 2016, council decided to keep all arenas open while a new arena working group prepared recommendations on the future of the facilities.
Throughout this year, the group met to explore how to best provide arena services while reducing the facilities’ annual operating deficits.
On Sept. 12, city council adopted the working group’s following recommendations:
- Maintain the arenas in Manvers, Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay and Woodville as required for continued operations.
- Complete a refurbishment of the Ops arena.
- Explore a new arena complex in the Oakwood/Little Britain area with the goal of combining the two existing facilities. A single and twin pad format will be studied, as well as the opportunity to combine additional facilities in the same location.
- Explore building a new arena complex in the Village of Omemee to replace the existing Emily/Omemee complex. Council says the existing facility is dated and in need of substantial capital investment to extend its life cycle.
“I’m pleased with the discussions and feedback we’ve had through the arenas working group,” City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham said. “We’ve heard from users across the city and I believe these recommendations show a balance between what arena users want and what is reasonable to ask taxpayers to support.
“We need to invest in the arenas that have lifespan left and build better facilities in the locations where the most users will benefit. This is a good plan to accomplish that,” he added.
City staff will report back in June 2018 on what would be needed to fulfill the recommendations. Any future decisions will impact the 10-year financial plan which is based on maintaining all 10 ice surfaces as status quo. There will also be a staff report on operational savings and efficiencies following the 2018-19 arena season.