Editorial - It may come down to recreation or roads

Apublic meeting will be held in the city next week to gauge interest from various user groups and the general public regarding the feasibility of a new multi-use indoor turf facility.

The meeting to be held Jan. 19, at the Yorkton Public Library will look to build some momentum for a facility first suggested by a group of parents involved with Yorkton United FC who saw a need for a facility better suited to the particular needs of soccer in Yorkton.

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While the Nexera Flexihall was originally built in large part to help meet indoor soccer’s need for a place to grow, the Flexihall is not ideal says the sport group.

“The Flexihall’s concrete floor has been taking its toll on players’ knees and ankles and, because of other important events, Yorkton United, the Flexihall’s primary user, has lost access to the facility for as much as 30 per cent of the indoor season,” noted a report carried in Yorkton This Week Sept. 27, 2018.

So the group has a conceptual drawing in hand for a facility that could cost upwards of $12 million, and while it is likely soccer would hope to have greater control of the facility in terms of scheduled usage, other sports ranging from football to lacrosse to gymnastics could potentially use a new facility.

But the question of course will be who funds such a facility?

While no formal request for taxpayer dollars has been suggested at this point, it is likely the City will be looked at to contribute in some fashion.

However, the new facility is only one of the recreational facilities that are on the drawing board in the city at this point.

It was back in 2015 that Carla Lammers made a presentation to Yorkton Council looking for support for a third ice surface in Yorkton to better facilitate the needs of the minor hockey program.

“I’m here to speak with you about Yorkton’s ice facilities; and to specifically ask the City to replace the Kinsmen arena with a twinned ice facility by the fall of 2019,” she said. “… My objective is to help the City better understand the need for a twinned ice facility... I hope the City will agree that this need exists, and will commence plans to budget for and build a twinned ice facility to replace the current Kinsmen arena. I advocate at least one ice surface to be available for year round use, and recommend it be open for business in the fall of 2019.”

Well it is 2019, and there are no plans to for a third ice surface, although there are those who still advocate for one.

In fact, the fate of the City’s second ice surface, the Kinsmen Arena is still being determined.

It was in September 2018 we learned the City of Yorkton was about to embark on a process to determine the best course to replace the Kinsmen Arena which is coming to the end of its expected lifespan.

“The Kinsmen Arena is nearing the end of the anticipated 10-year lifespan and direction is required on its future,” said Paul Keys, with the City at a regular meeting of Yorkton Council in September.

Keys explained that, “In 2009 an assessment of the Kinsmen Arena was completed that identified an approximate lifespan of 10 years remaining for that facility. As a result, Council authorized a conceptual plan be undertaken for a possible future replacement.”

The final determination of the study and the direction the City will take are yet to be seen.

Which of the three suggested needs is deemed greatest for our city, and where the dollars come from will be interesting to watch unfold, especially in terms of City funding as Council was reluctant to increase property taxes too much for 2019, even to address a recognized shortfall in infrastructure updates in the city.

How a major recreational facility fares against the need to replace underground utilities, aging pavement and deteriorating sidewalks will be an interesting balancing act for Yorkton Council to pull off in the next year, or two.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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