Quick progress urged on demolition of ‘open coffin’

Frustration is rising day after day. Yet there appears to be an end in sight. The question is ‘will it be soon enough’?

Frustration is rising day after day. Yet there appears to be an end in sight. The question is ‘will it be soon enough’?

We’re talking, of course, about demolition of the old arena which remains “an open coffin” in the centre of our recreation hub. More than six months after the January 20th collapse of a portion of the roof, bits and pieces still litter the ice surface and asphalt behind the building.

Nothing concrete has been done to remove the eyesore which is viewed everyday by people passing through the area.

For those planning events around the NHL pre-season hockey game between the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes on Sept. 24, timely demolition of the building is imperative. If it’s not done by a certain date, then it would be better to leave the work until after the game so it doesn’t interfere with the festivities being planned by our dedicated volunteers.

However, our hope is that the town can come to a quick conclusion with its insurance company and work can begin soon.

We were told at Monday night’s council meeting that the insurance people have finally wrapped their heads around what happened and have made a proposal to the town based on facility repair.

Betty Osmond, the town’s chief administrative officer, said she can understand from an insurance point of view why it makes more sense for them to offer an amount for repair rather than demolition. Not all of the building or its infrastructure were destroyed.

However, the town still plans to demolish the facility to make way for the new NexSource Centre. The latest schematic design drawing and cost estimates for that were presented to the task force on Aug. 5 and the architect instructed to make some changes for another meeting next week.

Getting back to demolition, the ball is now in the town’s court. They’ve hired an engineering company to review the insurance proposal to ascertain that it’s in the best interests of the town to accept or to provide further information.

“We’re moving through the process as quickly as we can. It’s an insurance issue and it is in the town’s best interests to take our time on this,” Osmond told councillors.

While we understand the caution exercised by town staff in securing the best deal for the community, we also urge them to make sure this remains a top priority and to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.

Then demolition can occur and the site can be cleared.

It’s amazing that it’s just six weeks before the hockey game which is a major portion of the prize package Sylvan Lake won when it was named Kraft Hockeyville. We hope the eyesore is gone by the time that occurs.