Terrace Sportsplex to Officially Open

By Kat Lee – Terrace Standard
Published: November 04, 2008 11:00 PM
view article on the Terrace Standard website

After years of lobbying, referendums, and planning for a multi-faceted facility in the community, the city will be celebrating the sportsplex’s official grand opening Nov. 7.

The day will start out with city councillors flipping pancakes for staff and contractors who worked on the project followed by the chance for a free swim and skate for all school kids during the day.

The pool will then be open to the public for a free swim from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., and the arena will be open to the public for a free skate between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Two totem poles representing the grizzly bear, eagle, killer whale and raven will be unveiled at 4 p.m. The Skeena Native Development Society approached the city with the idea to have the totem poles at the sportsplex. Four second year graduates from the Frieda Diesing program, Nisga’a Tshimsian Henry Kelly and George McKay, and Jacqueline McNeil and Titus Auckland from the Kitselas community, have been working the last three months to make the poles.

Finally, at 5p.m., local dignitaries will perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the facility.

To date, the sportsplex has cost a total of $9,998,114, which is slightly higher than the original estimate of $9.28 million. Phase one came out to $8.6 million instead of the estimated $8 million, while phase two is currently costing $1.34 million opposed to the original $1.2 million.

The city is paying for the $10 million sportsplex through a series of grants, loans, fundraising, reserve budgets, and anticipated income through future energy savings and revenue from the program’s facilities. Grants cover $4.5 million of phase one’s cost, while $588,000 is coming from the city’s infrastructure reserve. Donations and fundraising total nearly $0.9 million.

The remaining $2,671,331 is coming through loans. A $1.5 million zero per cent interest loan is borrowed from the city’s share of the Northern Development Initiative Trust; the city will be paying $150,000 each year over the next ten years from the city’s operating budget, and it started paying the loan back this year. The other $1,171,331 is being borrowed from the Municipal Finance Authority through borrowing bylaws put in place a couple of years earlier.

“The bottom line is, $1 million is what we have to pay back (to the municipal finance authority),” said the city’s chief administrative officer Ron Poole. The city is hoping to get part of this money back through increased revenues at the new and upgraded facilities as well as money from energy savings. Poole said the fundraising committee is also still actively looking for money, and the $1 million owed to the finance authority could decrease through further donations. More than $100,000 has been pledged to the sportsplex that the city will receive over a period of time.

To pay for phase two, the city and regional district will share the costs to the upgrades to the pool and renovations to the existing arena.

Some of the $1.34 million will be borrowed, and money is expected to come through energy savings and program revenue.