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Photo: Synthetic turf set to be installed in newly renovated Kids Arena/ Sean Assor

Plans regarding the renovation for the new Kids Arena were discussed in a meeting open to the general public.

On Wednesday evening, the City held a meeting at the vacant Kids Arena building, updating those in attendance about the progress made with regards to the facility’s $400,000 renovations.

Councillors Trevor Bolin and Larry Evans, who are the Chairs of the committee planning the renovations and V.P. of Cannon Design Doug Wournell, discussed some of the major changes set to take place. The most significant change being made is changing the hockey arena surface to a synthetic turf surface, used for soccer and other field sports such as lacrosse and field hockey. Wournell says the turf plays exactly like a natural grass field.

Some renovations will also be made under the turf, with the installation of shock pads, to lessen the impact force of running or falling. These shock pads will help reduce painful experiences of falling or stress on the body. The new turf is also extremely durable and easy to clean.

A hard cover is also being looked into to cover the turf for other functions, such as conventions or other sports that require a harder surface. The estimated cost for this cover can range from $40,000 to $80,000.

Another significant renovation being made is the reconstruction of the boards. The hockey boards will be changed to clear glass soccer dasher boards, making the games taking place much easier to see from an observer’s perspective. Nets will also be added above the boards to avoid the loss of balls and equipment.

Lighting was another issue addressed at the meeting and while it was said that the lighting is sufficient, an increase in natural light within the facility is being investigated.

Renovations will also be made to the actual structure of the Kids Arena, including an interior/exterior paint job and an increase in the heating within the facility. Two new gas heating units are expected to be installed, which will heat the playing facility to 68 degrees.

The meeting also included a discussion about the upstairs of the facility and how it could be utilized for birthday parties, team meetings, or concession sales. An idea the general public seemed to approve.

Councillor Larry Evans made it clear at the meeting that the intention of the renovations is not to make a profit off the facility, rather continue to provide a service to the kids of Fort. St. John.

Councillor Bolin did however discuss the idea of applying for sponsorships, to help alleviate some of the costs. Both councilors also agreed that the name would remain the Fort St. John Kids Arena, to remind everyone who the facility is intended for.

Renovations to the facility are expected to be completed by September.

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