Ponoka multiplex plans move ahead

New field house, indoor playground and arena improvements to cost about $16.6 million

Ponoka is moving forward on plans to build a new recreation multiplex.

Council kept the ball rolling this week when it approved in principle a draft preliminary design, scenario analysis and business case for the multi-phase project.

Consultants are recommending the existing Ponoka Arena Complex be redeveloped in four phases as funding becomes available.

The first two phases would cost about $16.6 million. A new multi-purpose, three-storey field house would be built with a rubberized floor the size of three basketball courts that could be used for a wide range of sports and activities.

An indoor playground and revamped lobby and social gathering place would also be built and an ice plant relocated.

Second-phase projects would see the existing twin arenas upgraded with better seating and the addition of a barrier separating the two ice sheets.

Among major recommendations is to delay the building of a new aquatics facility, estimated to cost $18-$25 million. Originally proposed for the first phase “such a facility would likely be cost-prohibitive for the town to build and operation in the short to medium term,” says the town.

The aquatics centre is now proposed as a third-phase project, followed by a community centre, estimated to cost $6 to $12 million in the fourth and final phase.

Bankrolling the projects will require municipal, provincial and federal funding, as well as contributions through local fundraising efforts and corporate sponsorships.

“The next crucial step for the proposed facility is to find funding for Phase 1, the new field house, and to complete the design process with the development of a final design and construction drawings that can be put to tender in order to begin building,” says Wes Amendt, the town’s director of community services.

Local fundraising efforts have already begun. The Ponoka Arts, Recreation and Culture Society is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day live music and dance event at the town’s Stagecoach Saloon on Friday.

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