A concept rendering of the Blackfalds Multi-Plex arena expansion project. Contributed photo

Blackfalds plans to borrow $17 million for arena twinning project

Construction to start in spring for completion before 2021-22 hockey season

The Town of Blackfalds is planning to borrow more than $17 million for an arena twinning project.

Construction is expected to begin this spring, so it can be ready for the 2021-22 hockey season.

Mayor Rick Poole said the town’s recreation board will be going over the tenders Wednesday evening.

“We are hoping a recommendation will forward from the recreation board to our council,” said Poole.

Lacombe County has provided $1.7 million for the project. Other funds are expected from the Dual Ice Development Society, a local community-driven effort, which had set a $1-million goal.

“The society has been doing a really great job,” said Poole. “They are working really hard, but we don’t know exactly how much they will come up with.”

Sponsorship dollars are also expected.

However, since the amount that will be coming in from other sources is not clear, the borrowing bylaw is based only on known funding, says a report to council. Any potential federal or provincial grants are not factored in.

Whether the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on construction schedules is impossible to say.

“We are hoping things will be able to move ahead, but nobody knows at this time,” said Poole.

The town proposes borrowing $17.4 million, which includes $300,000 for a sewer line project.

Despite adding another $17 million in debt, the town expects to meet the one per cent tax rate increase projected over the next three years in the town’s budgt.

“Administration feels that this will be achievable with this borrowing,” says the report.

To free up a little debt room, the town will pay off $240,000 in loans this year. As well, the loans for the civic and cultural centre will be paid off this year.

Blackfalds has a borrowing limit of $38 million. In 2021, debt will hit $17.6 million, or 46 per cent of the limit.

Debt increases to $19.8 million in 2022 — 52 per cent of the limit. The amount owed continues to fall in subsequent years, to $15.6 million by 2025.

Council is expected to give first reading to the borrowing bylaw at its next meeting on Monday.


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