Business case first step in expanding Sports Centre

Municipality applies for new provincial funding

New uses: The current building will be used with the new rink. - File Photo Sun Peaks Resort
New uses: The current building will be used with the new rink. – File Photo Sun Peaks Resort

The Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) is asking for provincial funding to create a business case for the Sports Centre facility.

SPMRM submitted an application for the BC Rural Dividend in May. The new provincial initiative will provide $25 million over three years to communities with a population of less than 25,000 to help make them more attractive places to live and work.

SPMRM acquired the Sun Peaks Sports Centre for a nominal fee from Sun Peaks Resort LLP in February to serve as the change rooms for the new NHL-sized rink that will open later in 2016. The municipality has expressed a desire to put a roof over the rink surface to transform it into an all-year community centre, for which a business case is the first step according to Mayor Al Raine.

“We need to put a business case to show that we have all the other infrastructure. We have the hotels, we have the restaurants, we have all the facilities that are required to host 2,000 to 3,000 people for a major event,” Raine said. “The only thing that’s missing is the facility to host the event, the trigger that will bring the people to Sun Peaks.”

The hope for the skating facility is to double as a suitable venue for community events, large conferences and conventions, concerts and cultural events, which will continue to move Sun Peaks towards a year-round destination.

Raine said SPMRM will need financial assistance from the provincial or federal governments, and a strong business case is needed to do so.

“We feel we need to strengthen the business case if we want the government to come to the party,” Raine said. “We need to make sure we submit a plan that makes good sense from a business point of view and shows good return on investment from the provincial or federal point of view.”

An application for $4 million through the provincial Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund was denied earlier this year, largely because the rink was not yet built, according to chief administrative officer Rob Bremner. He said having the rink in place as well as the business case will strengthen future applications.

“I think looking at our last application, I think the only reason it failed was because we didn’t actually have the outdoor facility built,” Bremner said. “If we would’ve actually had that facility in the ground it would’ve fit around the parameters of the program.”

The first round of BC Rural Dividend applications are currently being reviewed, and a second round of applications will open in October.