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Humboldt seeks funding for $35 million arena expansion

Tribute centre, second ice surface and community uses are planned
Humboldt Broncos Tribute Centre
An artist's rendering shows the proposed expansion to the Elgar Petersen Arena.

Plans for a $35 million expansion to the civic arena in Humboldt are a step closer to reality.

Humboldt city council voted May 5 to submit an application to the federal and provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) for the project, intended as a tribute centre to the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.

In April 2018, the team was involved in a fatal bus crash near Tisdale on its way to an SJHL playoff game in Nipawin. Sixteen people on the bus died and 13 others were hurt.

City manager Joe Day says the city is hoping to get 70 per cent of the cost of the new tribute centre covered.

“The facility itself is right in the $34 million to $35 million (range) … ICIP can provide up to 73 per cent of funding, so that ends up being right around $25 million that we’re applying for,” he said.

The plan right now is to build onto the existing Elgar Petersen Arena, which Day said is 40 years old and needs a lot of work itself. Last April, the city released a concept plan or vision for a tribute centre to see if there was any support.

“Over the last year or so, we’ve been completing some cases for support going out to some of the industries and that sort of thing to see if they’d be willing to donate or contribute to it. But (we’re) also doing some feasibility studies to ensure that the size, the scale (and) the scope all makes sense from a financial perspective,” Day said.

The addition would include a tribute gallery that would display some of the mementos and stories of the 2018 Broncos, including inspirations that have come out of the tragedy. There are also plans for a second ice arena and community use spaces.

Day said it would take around four months to find out whether the city gets the financial green light. After that, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“We’re going to be moving out, talking to some of our local stakeholders as well as other stakeholders to ensure that we keep moving forward with the design of the facility so that it really — as best as it can — serve so many different groups within the community,” he added.

Day said they’re also working with the Bronco Memorial Committee and several families.

Originally launched in 2016, a total of $33 billion in federal dollars is available through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Saskatchewan communities will receive $896 million under a 10-year agreement signed with the province in 2018.