Multiplex reopened; longer hours planned; will have ice during summer

Councillors approved two additional seasonal positions and other changes to operations of the multiplex

Hockey, figure skating and other ice sports can return to Sylvan Lake after the multiplex was reopened to the public yesterday (Wednesday) after three and a half weeks of closure.

The town’s only remaining ice surface was closed following the collapse of part of the roof on the arena beside it in the early morning of Jan. 20. There were concerns the arena could further collapse and the south wall fall into the dressing room area of the multiplex.

Ron Lebsack, the town’s director of community services, told councillors Monday night that they’d met with the appraiser appointed by the insurance company as well as the structural engineer and adjuster earlier in the day. The structural engineer had completed the analysis done over the last three weeks and provided the town with a letter to open the multiplex.

He expected figure skaters to be in the facility Wednesday and minor hockey teams to return Thursday. During the past few weeks minor hockey teams have been playing games all over Central Alberta as other communities helped out by providing ice time.

As far as the arena, Lebsack said there may not be a lot of action for some time as far as demolition is concerned.

“It’s structurally unsound, it’s not stable for anyone to enter,” he said. Crews were in Sylvan Tuesday to remove snow from the southwest corner of the arena roof “so it becomes somewhat safer so the structural engineer can get back in and assess the situation”, do a stabilization plan with cable so they can finish off the assessment of what caused the collapse.

Lebsack added that they feel while the arena is very unsafe and structurally unsound, the engineers don’t believe there is any danger of the arena collapsing and falling into the multiplex.

“They feel it will be more likely to collapse into the arena, the same way as it did, will collapse inward with a slight bulging of the walls,” he said. “That’s why they gave us a letter to open the multiplex.”

In another agenda item, councillors approved two additional seasonal positions and other changes to operations of the multiplex.

To make up for the loss of one ice surface, the multiplex will be open longer hours, the season extended, and the summer hockey camp relocated to the facility.

Morning ice times starting at 6:45 a.m. and evening ice times extending to 12:45 a.m. will be available if required. The regular ice season will be extended into April (previously the multiplex closed at the end of March).

The summer hockey camp will relocate operations into the multiplex which means there will be ice in the facility during July and August and then the regular ice season will begin in September (previously the multiplex opened in mid-September).

The two seasonal positions were requested to cover summer hours from July to mid-September, indicated Lebsack.

Despite additional costs for the staff members, there are an overall cost savings of $41,000 to the 2014 budget, he added. This is realized through an anticipated increase in revenue for the multiplex and a reduction in the arena cost.