$2.7M in critical repairs to start at Kerry Park facility

As soon as hockey season is over, Kerry Park Arena will undergo a massive overhaul.

Work on $2.7 million in critical facility repairs is expected to start in March.

"The first priority is to replace the nearly 40-year-old arena refrigeration ice rink slab and installation of the sub-floor heating system, as well as the arena dasher boards during the dry floor season to ensure there is little disruption to the ice season," said Mike Croft, chair of the Kerry Park Recreation Commission. "The goal is to complete the slab work by mid-August."

The arena portion of the Kerry Park Recreation Centre will be closed during the repairs, which means disruption for box lacrosse, although the Cowichan Valley Lacrosse Association was given advance notice.

"Our regular users have been notified of the project work and are working with other local facilities to accommodate them for this season," South Cowichan Recreation manager Kim Liddle said.

Along with arena upgrades, the project will include a number of energy-savings initiatives. Kerry Park staff are working with BC Hydro and Fortis BC to apply for grants that will help reduce overall costs.

Beyond the work on the arena, additional repairs are expected to include upgrades to the electrical, sewer and water systems, work on the mechanical, plumbing and refrigeration systems, and replacement of the original generator.

"The commission recognizes that there is no desire to increase tax requisition at this time, so the project will be funded through reserve funds, grants and short term borrowing." Croft said. "The annual contributions made to the Kerry Park Reserve Fund will be decreased and reallocated to debt repayment for the project in order to keep costs neutral."