Joffre working towards new rink

Joffre Community Society is looking for a big financial assist from Lacombe County to build a new hockey rink.

Joffre Community Society is looking for a big financial assist from Lacombe County to build a new hockey rink.

The county was asked on Thursday for a $125,000 grant to go towards the $430,000 project.

Financial help was needed after the society had provincial and federal grant applications turned down.

The new ice surface, which could be used for inline hockey, basketball, tennis or other sports outside winter, would replace an undersized and aging rink that is substandard.

Society president Mike Marshall told Lacombe County council that uneven ground beneath the 15-year-old rink creates air bubbles and holes in the ice that must be constantly repaired during the winter.

The new regulation-sized rink would include better lighting and a change room.

A second phase, dependent on a successful provincial funding application, would add a pump station to make flooding the ice easier, washrooms and a storage area.

Nova Chemicals has contributed $302,000 to the rink, and Lacombe County previously approved $50,000 worth of work in kind.

The society also has $13,000 in a bank account to be used for ice-cleaning equipment and as an emergency fund for operating costs.

Marshall said the society needs to line up the total cost of the first phase before going out to tender.

It is hoped a contractor can be lined up in July to ensure the project is ready for the winter.

Several councillors expressed enthusiasm for the rink initiative even though the county has yet to complete a regional recreation plan, which will consider how the county should support recreation projects in the area, including those in larger urban centres such as Lacombe and Blackfalds.

Coun. Brenda Knight saw no reason to wait for the plan’s completion since Joffre residents are county ratepayers.

“Quite frankly, I don’t have a problem with this project in any way as it is serving our taxpayers.”

Coun. Dana Kreil was considering proposing a motion to approve the $125,000 grant, but after some discussion council opted to follow usual procedure and await a report from staff first.

The request will be discussed at the next meeting in two weeks.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com