The first phase of Ponoka’s field house is estimated at $12.4 million.
All that’s needed are funds from the province to get things moving.
According to Ponoka’s community services director Wes Amendt, everything that was approved by town council last year and presented to the public in a March 2017 report remains the same.
“It’s the political process that has changed,” he said, adding the next step will be the detailed construction drawings once funding for the project is finalized.
One issue though that remains outstanding on the project is whether the town will have to go it alone or if the municipal partnership arrangement with the Town of Stettler and the counties of Stettler and Ponoka comes together.
The partnership more or less dissolved last fall when Ponoka County pulled its funding commitment on a grant application for the project after the provincial government changed how it would provide its share the proposed infrastructure project; in this case, offering money from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
That announcement also led the town to approve withholding the education portion of property taxes beginning this year until the difference is made up.
“In order to take (the project) to the next step, whether that’s in partnership with Stettler and doing the joint build, until we have confirmation of funding there’s really no action being taken and the rest is in the hands of council,” Amendt said.
“We are awaiting word on funding and when what that happens we move forward, whether individually or joint submission with Stettler.”
“I can’t assume and can’t speak for the county but we would hope that all of our partners are back on board and moving the project forward.”
The initial conceptual design included four separate phases of construction, with the field house — complete with an indoor child playground, second level track and new lobby connecting with the current arena — coming in phase one at an estimated cost about $12.4 million.
Operationally, it’s estimated the fieldhouse will generate about $314,000 annually in revenue by the third year to go along with $495,000 in expenses. Combined with curling and the arena, it’s estimated the facility will earn just over $1 million while expenses would sit at more than $1.8 million.
“There’s always a cost escalation of construction over time. Those estimates are basically what we will be working from going forward.”
Phase two would see around $3 million spent to upgrade the two arenas, but Amendt noted any timeline for completing this would be based on discussions after the first phase is operational. The plan also includes around $1.27 million in continued maintenance for the present Aquaplex.
The report also denoted the potential for adding an aquatics centre in phase three at a cost between $18 to $25 million plus a community centre in phase four at a price tag of $6 to $12 million.