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Report recommends replacement of historic Salmon Arm sports facility

City announces Indoor Memorial Sports Complex ‘cannot be occupied in its current state’
In an April 11 post on social media, the City of Salmon Arm announced the SASCU Indoor Memorial Sports Complex cannot be occupied in its current state. The announcement follows the completion of a detailed structural assessment of the facility. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

A structural assessment of the SASCU Indoor Memorial Sports Complex recommends replacement over repair.

On Thursday, April 11, the City of Salmon Arm shared a post on social media advising the detailed structural assessment of the facility had been completed and, “unfortunately, the building cannot be occupied in its current state.”

“While the City hasn’t finalized its decision on the arena’s future and is awaiting the completion of a Lifecycle Analysis, we recognize its importance to the community and want to ensure you have the most up to date information,” reads the post. “The City will be engaging the community in discussions about facilities and encourage you to participate.”

In November the city announced the Sports Complex would be closed after a preliminary engineering study raised significant concerns “regarding the structural integrity of the building when there is a snowpack on the roof.”

“Under these circumstances, it is not financially or operationally viable to keep the facility open when there is snow on the roof,” said the city at that time. “The overall safety and well-being of the users of our facilities is, and will always be, the priority of the city and the Shuswap Recreation Society.”

The April 11 update included a link to a March 25, 2024 interim report of the detailed structural assessment of the Sports Complex completed by Bar Engineering. In the 225-page document, the firm concluded repair of the structure, built in 1957 (with additions in 1961 and 1966), would require a “significant investment.”

“Significant investment into the building envelope and structure is required prior to interim occupancy and extending the useful life of the facility,” reads the report. “It is the opinion of the undersigned that permanent repairs to the building envelope and structure, with the intent of extending the useful service life of the facility, is not a viable solution and replacement should be considered.”

This opinion, the report continues, is based on “the extensive effort and cost to replace the existing foundation and the flat roof sections of the arena, the extensive truss repairs and the replacement of the building envelope.”

“Furthermore, the extensive remediation will trigger the requirement to upgrade the existing building to current codes in relation to fire and life safety,” reads the report. “Costs related to the latter are not considered in this report as they will be further analyzed in the next phase of the project, the Life Cycle Assessment.”

The report does include repair recommendations, both for partial occupancy and full occupancy. It explains the intent of “partial occupancy” is to maximize occupancy with the minimum level of repairs needed to allow for safe use of the building “within certain weather conditions and seasons.”

Full occupancy repairs would provide the “minimum level of repairs which will allow safe use of the building year-round.” The cost of the recommended repairs to support partial occupancy was estimated at $89,700. For full occupancy, the estimate was $2,778,000.

“Based on the historical data reviewed, site observations made, and the structural evaluation, the building envelope and structure are generally in poor condition and beyond their intended service life,” reads the report’s conclusion.

In addition to accommodating a number of local sports groups, the SASCU Indoor Memorial Sports Complex is also a hub for the Salmon Arm Fair.

Fair manager Jim McEwan said plans were made around the possibility the Sports Complex wouldn’t be available for the 2024 event.

“What we’ve done, it’s called pivoting…,” laughed McEwan. “I think anybody who runs an event, you have to deal with everything from weather to buildings to you name it, there’s all sorts of surprises that come up and this is one we suspected would happen. What we’ve done is come up with a plan to have the exhibitors that would normally be in the Memorial arena, they would move over into the artisan building and the dance centre, we’ve got space there.”

For vendors, a street marketplace will be set up along 5th Avenue.

“All those commercial marketplace vendors would be set up there,” said McEwan. “There’s some logistics that go into making sure that’s safe and comfortable and works for the commercial vendors, but that’s what we’ve got so far.”

Regarding the Bar report, McEwan said he was surprised by the $2.7 million estimate. His take was that the city should, down the road, look at a new building.

“It’s kind of like a money pit… you’ve got a beautiful building but it just doesn’t work,” said McEwan. “I would suggest and hope we take a step back and look at a 25,000 or 35,000 square foot metal building… it’s about the same amount of money as what’s proposed to put into fixing the Memorial arena and you get a brand-new building.

“I think it’s best to have all the user groups get together and look at what works and what doesn’t work and work with the city and the recreation society. Because honestly, I can’t see putting any money into that Memorial arena. It’s a lot of money.”

The above story was updated with additional information at 5 p.m. on April 11.

Read more: Column: Safety and liability main reasons behind Salmon Arm arena closure

Read more: City of Salmon Arm to close indoor arena during snowfall

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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