The ice is going in … and you can go for a walk … but it will cost.
City council has approved re-opening both CN Centre and the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, allowing seasons for both the Spruce Kings and the Prince George Cougars, other ice users, and, of course, recreational walkers who use the concourses of both arenas throughout the winter.
Re-opening the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena for the 2020-21 season – mid-October to May – will cost the city $250,000, according to city director of finance Chris Dalio. Opening CN Centre will cost the city $150,000.
The move increases the city’s expected 2021 budget shortfall, due to COVID-19, from $6.4 million to $6.8 million. The shortfall equates to a six per cent increase in property taxes, he said.
City taxpayers are subsidizing 80 to 85 per cent of the cost of running the arenas, Dalio said.
“We have been used to 45 per cent subsidization rates for many years in this city,” said Mayor Hall. “But we are taking it to a new level and I guess we will see what happens during our budget conversations.”
The Spruce Kings have a scheduled exhibition game against the Merritt Centennials on October 25. The BCHL season is slated to begin December 1 and the league is prepared to proceed without fans in the stands.