DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Ovintiv Events Centre will see a frosty fall with ice installed for September and October while improvements remain underway at the Memorial Arena.
Formerly the Encana Events Centre, the facility has an ice plant and more than enough capacity to host the start of hockey (minor league and the Kodiaks,) figure skating, and speedskating seasons in September.
Without the Memorial Arena, these major youth activities would only be able to use the Kin Arena—a much smaller facility. Adult leagues also begin in September when ice is available.
The Ovintiv Centre is not usually used for these leagues, but it will be up and running to see the seasons off to a timely start.
The Memorial Arena HVAC system is being replaced and will not be ready until the end of October this year.
The two-phase project has been underway since 2021 and construction was planned to be completed this year. Budget concerns that resulted in modifying the scope of the project and supply chain problems have slowed the project.
The budget to operate the OEC ice facility for the first two months of the season is $125,000. This includes only the costs of installation of the ice, supplies, staffing, cleaning, and utilities.
The Memorial Arena costs estimated based on last year are $258,942.10. These, however, are not straight across comparisons—for one thing, the Memorial Arena costs also include separate ice surfaces for the curling rink.
City staff did not have information immediately available to council on the difference in cost between running the two facilities. As the ice plant in the Memorial Arena still needs to operate to keep the curling rinks running in autumn, it is not a direct calculation.
Other options, including only opening the Kin Arena in September and delaying completing the HVAC system and using the Memorial Arena as-is for the start of the season were brought up, but city staff noted that there is a possibility for a provincial event during spring break in 2023 for which the Memorial Arena would be key.