Artistic renderings of the town’s proposed new multiplex were presented to a select group of about 35 movers and shakers in Sylvan Lake last Thursday as plans were announced for a fundraising initiative.
The town has allocated $14.5 million for the structure, to be coupled with $2 million to be raised in the community.
Amy Komarniski, co-chair of the Multiplex Redevelopment Fundraising Committee, explained those attending were “invited because we feel you’ll be a great asset to fundraising efforts”.
“The infrastructure of the town needs to catch up with the community’s needs,” she said. “We know there’s nothing but future growth to come.”
The current arena is reaching its final years. By 2016 it will not be financially viable to continue with that arena because of the cash injection needed to maintain it.
As well, she said, the seniors are quickly outgrowing their facility. Part of the project will include a main floor seniors’ centre which is considerably larger than the building they currently occupy on 50th Avenue.
Early in 2013 a task force was charged with developing a concept of what the multiplex would look like and what amenities would be needed.
Blair Mack, chairperson of the task force, spoke about those amenities.
“We É have worked diligently with Sylvan Lake town officials and with the É fundraising committee to make sure that our new recreation facility keeps up with current recreational needs of our community, accentuates our existing facilities, as well as builds a strong foundation for our town’s evolving recreational needs moving forward,” he said.
“More than just a hockey rink, over the past five months, the multiplex redevelopment concept has transformed to include a seniors’ centre that our community seniors can be proud of, a civic centre where a variety of large scale events can be held, a walking and running track, state-of-the-art sports facilities, and multipurpose rooms we continue to develop to fit the needs of various community and business groups.”
“Things like weddings, trade shows, banquets, fundraisers, conferences, performing arts, after school programming, children’s play spaces and free range parenting spaces, a professional grade kitchen and affordable meeting rooms.”
Mack said, “Our goal is to create an all season community focal point, naturally situated closely to one of our greatest assets, the lake.
“Along with all of its functionality, we have also focused a great amount of attention on internal and external aesthetics É this is more than just a hockey rink, it’s truly something for all Sylvan Lakers to be proud of.”
The building will be “an important building block to the community moving forward,” Mack concluded.
Mayor Sean McIntyre said the fact there were many people in the room he didn’t know was exciting. “Typically you see the same 12 people helping. The fact there are so many new faces is really encouraging.”
“The town is in a new season,” he said. “It’s fitting in that regard that we’re looking at a new facility for this town.”
“What is visioned for this area makes sense business wise,” said McIntyre. Because of that the town has allocated $14.5 million towards it to be coupled with $2 million to be raised in the community.
“There’s a new attitude for the Town of Sylvan Lake, a co-operative attitude. We want to work with you, work together to build this thing.”
McIntyre stressed they’re looking for partnership. “If the town does this alone it’s a town building. If you do it, it is a community building.”
Speaking about inclusion of the seniors’ centre, he said that will draw more people to the building during the day. And on the civic events centre, he noted there are “a lot of people who don’t want to get married in a building with lines on the floor and basketball hoops in the ceiling”.
“It’s time to start building our community, time to do it together,” he encouraged.
Komarniski concluded the official presentation stating the fundraising committee is ready to move forward. Their plan is nearing completion. “We need strong community supporters behind us.”
She promised there will be another event to share information about the project with a larger number of people in the community.
Answering questions she said ideally the old arena would be torn down in the spring of 2015 and the new ice surface would be ready for the fall of the same year.
Another question was about the curling rink. That’s a separate project the group was told. The town has provided the curling club with $1.5 million to rebuild a four sheet rink. However the club would like at least five sheets and is currently fundraising for additional money needed to complete their project on the same location as the current curling facility. Their building is slated to close after this season.