Minnedosa mayor pleased with response from rec centre forum


By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Banner

Just under 100 people attended a public forum in Minnedosa on Monday, Jan. 26, to learn more about the construction of a proposed regional events centre. The project has been in the works since 2009 and would include a new hockey arena that will replace the existing ice rink, which was built in 1947. 

Town council in Minnedosa recently voted in favour of taking out a $3.5-million debenture to assist in the construction the new state of the art recreational facility. The total price for phase one, according to the most recent feasibility study, is estimated at around $9.3-million. 

Minnedosa mayor Ray Orr said before the debenture request could advance to the Manitoba Municipal Board, the town needed to go to the ratepayers to hear their thoughts on the process and if there had to be any adjustments made to the proposal before it goes to the next phase. He said the talk with the community was very constructive and mostly positive.

“We heard a lot from those who came out to share their thoughts on the project,” said Orr. “We received a good cross section of the community and what they think about the process. Several people suggested a few minor changes to the design to ensure it would meet our needs, not only now, but could also be improved or upgraded 10 or 20 years down the road if needed.”

Orr added that the projected cost is based upon the square foot estimate of $250 set out in the feasibility study commissioned by the town and done by J. Harper and Associates in Winnipeg. He said with the generally positive response from the public hearing, council feels as though it can move on to facilitating borrowing. For the debenture, the maximum amount to be borrowed would be $3,500,000, with a suggested period of repayment is 20 years. Based on advice from the provincial municipal services officer, the interest rate to be utilized would be 5.25 per cent and the annual payment required to satisfy the debt would be $286,833. Orr has said that the town has been putting $300,000 into a reserve each year, with the exception of last year, where $100,000 was put in. He noted that the intent is to reassign that $300,000 amount from the reserve to the debenture.

The current Minnedosa Arena has an 83’x180’ ice surface with a 4,389 square foot lobby and seating for 1,000 spectators. The proposed new arena would have a regulation ice surface of 85’x 200’ with 500 square feet of dressing rooms, 200 square feet officials’ room, 400 square feet of storage and seating for approximately 900 spectators. 

This new facility would be part of a multi-phased development planned at the Minnedosa Agricultural grounds.