Ice skaters in Smithers were out in droves January 12th to attend the grand opening of the town’s new arena.
The project, which cost $4.7 million to build and had been in planning stages for two decades, provides a brand new sheet of ice for winter sport enthusiasts who had previously been challenged to find ice time at the town’s existing 52-year-old arena, located next door.
The new arena features an NHL-sized ice surface and a seating capacity of 350. Northern Development provided a $250,000 grant through its Economic Diversification Infrastructure program to help make the new arena a reality. The program has previously been used to support upgrades at the Terrace Sportsplex and Conference facility, a runway expansion at Prince George Airport and a fuel station for Barkerville and Wells, among other projects.
Additional funding to support the project included $2.35 million in provincial grants, $650,000 from the Town of Smithers, $400,000 from the town land sales reserves, $250,000 from Aquilini Investment Group and Canucks Sport and Entertainment, $100,000 from Pacific Inland Resources and $50,000 from Minor Hockey.
“The Town of Smithers’ ability to crystalize its vision for a new arena that would serve the people of the Bulkley Valley and form partnerships to make it a reality is a fantastic example of the type of teamwork that exemplifies the spirit of northern B.C.,” said Northern Development board director and Village of Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold. “Northern Development is proud to have helped make this project a reality.”
“Turning the dream of a second arena into a well-built community facility took collaboration, dedication and over 20 years of hard work,” said Town of Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach.”We couldn’t have done it without the participation of major funding partners including the Northern Development Initiative Trust.”
• Smithers’ new arena features an NHL-sized ice surface and seating capacity for 350
• Northern Development provided a $250,000 grant from its Economic Diversification Infrastructure program to help make the project a reality
• The new arena alleviates existing ice-time capacity challenges in the community, which in the past decade saw 100% of prime ice time utilized
• The project budget totalled $4.7 million
Northern Development Initiative Trust