Renderings of the new Red Deer Arena that will cost $21.6-million and is scheduled to be completed in 2018. The project received unanimous approval at the Municipal Planning Commission on Wednesday.

Imagining an Icon: downtown arena project moves forward

The new $21.6-million arena in downtown Red Deer has taken a big stride forward with the Municipal Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the development permit on Wednesday.

The new $21.6-million arena in downtown Red Deer has taken a big stride forward with the Municipal Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the development permit on Wednesday.

Whether the new debt-funded facility comes with some “swoop,” as Coun. Ken Johnston called it, will ultimately be determined by the eye of the beholder, the public.

The public will be able to watch the play-by-play live when demolition starts on the old Arena in coming weeks, followed by construction of the new facility. It will all be streamed online on the City of Red Deer’s website.

Johnston said the new arena is an opportunity to become an iconic site for Red Deer. “I hope we do some swoop here — to say: ‘Wow! Look at this!’” That’s expected to be carried through in part by way of the public art aspect of the building, but details have not been finalized.

The new building, described by city administration as “a post-modernistic design with vertical elements,” will look a lot like the concept drawings.

The exterior will be a combination of metal siding, glazing, and textured and smooth pre-cast concrete.

It will essentially be the same footprint as the existing Arena, and two storeys. The two floors will both connect to the adjacent Pidherney Curling Centre. Both the Curling Centre and City of Red Deer intend to work together to make the outside view of both buildings cohesive.

The new arena will be used for hockey and skating in the winter, and in the summer for roller skating. It will be completed in 2018, a year before Red Deer hosts the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

The city will spend the largest portions of the budget for the project over the next 24 months— $8.8 million in 2016 and $9.2 million in 2017.

Mayor Tara Veer noted that with the curling centre and arena being together, it allows for the integration of other on-site uses such as the public market. The popular market was forced to relocate to the Memorial Centre this year while the new arena is being built.

The general contractor, PCL Construction Management Inc., made the development permit application to MPC. There is a two-week appeal period now before the permit can be issued.

The new arena will include a seating bowl with 1,360 fixed seats (with capacity for a total of 1,588), seven change rooms, two athlete warm-up rooms, and room-temperature spectator area.

As well, the second floor will offer an open view to the action below, in the form of an indoor walking track.

Parking will be similar to what is there now, with a total of 544 stalls, which includes 200 stalls across 43rd Street.

The development permit comes with several conditions, including that PCL provide a revised plan that indicates bicycle storage and outdoor bicycle racks, and pedestrian pathway connectivity plans.

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