City commits no money for Penhold Multiplex

The City of Red Deer will put the word out to ice users about that a new rink that will open this fall inside the Penhold Multiplex currently under construction. City council decided on Monday that the city would help out the Town of Penhold by letting ice-user groups know about the new multiplex and its NHL-sized rink.

The City of Red Deer will put the word out to ice users about that a new rink that will open this fall inside the Penhold Multiplex currently under construction.

City council decided on Monday that the city would help out the Town of Penhold by letting ice-user groups know about the new multiplex and its NHL-sized rink.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling said the town was looking for the city to partner in the building of the $20-million complex on the northeast corner of Penhold, just off of Hwy 42.

“I think they were putting a pitch out to see if we would give some money and that they would be willing to negotiate something with us,” said Flewwelling.

But the city doesn’t have the money to help.

“There are all kinds of people who come to us and ask us for ice time and we can’t accommodate them,” Flewwelling said.

“This is the way you can do it, by driving five miles, and likely at a cheaper rate.”

Construction began more than a year ago on the $20-million multiplex that includes an arena, gymnasium, library, fitness arena and indoor running track. All three levels of government have poured money into the nearly 100,000-square-foot centre slated to officially open on July 9 and 10. Receiving financial help would be great, but the town understands the city has its own needs as well, said Penhold Mayor Julia King on Tuesday.

She said the town is just offering another avenue for ice-user groups.

“Whether it’s programming or helping out with any overflow of tournaments, we are most happy to work with the city on that,” said King.

The arena would receive extra revenues from outside business, but the town overall would see economic benefits too, she added.

“We need to ensure too that our residents have the opportunity to use the ice at reasonable hours.”

Recreation superintendent Kay Kenny said the city should be able to accommodate most groups within town. During a recent meeting on ice times for the fall/winter season, only five requests couldn’t be met.

The city has 444 weekly bookable hours in its six arenas. Of that, a tiny margin of requests (18 hours a week or four per cent) didn’t get available times.

“An additional 15 hours a week allocated to adult groups would prefer an earlier time that we cannot offer,” said Kenny.

Red Deer city Councillor Buck Buchanan said having another ice surface should give relief to some hockey teams.

He said his team is considering dropping out of its league because the earliest time slot it can get is 10:30 p.m.

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