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Bowden Igloo arena roof fix could cost $2 million or more

Town of Bowden council tables decision on investigating arena roof problems citing not enough information
web Bowden stock town hall
Bowden council has tabled discussion on what it might take to fix the arena roof at Bowden Igloo. File photo/MVP Staff

BOWDEN — Town council is concerned that it might cost $2 million -- or way more -- to fix moisture and other possible issues in the arena roof of the Bowden Igloo.  

Chief administrative officer Greg Skotheim told council he’d like to know what exactly is happening there, so he’d like to have a more thorough inspection done but he warned that too could be very costly. 

After discussing the issue and its possible ramifications, council voted unanimously during its Feb. 14 meeting to table the matter. 

“We don’t have enough info,” Coun. Randy Brown said as he proposed the tabling motion. 

The discussion was sparked by a report from ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd. 

That report referenced a visual structural review of the roof undertaken in September 2020. 

It found that screws in the metal part of the roof appeared to be pulling out, thereby allowing some moisture to seep in and likely damaging the roof. Also, some roof truss braces and columns were found to be “overutilized."

The municipality was told the arena is safe to use, as long as the roof doesn’t bear more than seven inches of snow.  

The ISL report said the town could fix those problems in one unphased shot for an estimated cost of $2.07 million. 

Or it could have the work done over three phases with costs ranging from nearly $699,274 to $1.1 million for Phase 1, $211,855 to $1.2 million for Phase 2 and $211,855 to $699,274 for Phase 3. No price estimate was offered for Phase 3 of option 3. 

Skotheim noted that in essence, the facility has two roofs and the concern is there is likely moisture between the two roofs which is causing rot and possibly other issues. 

“I don’t know. It's a lot of money,” Skotheim warned. “We’re talking 6, 7, 800,000 at least; and then probably $800,000 again and quite a bit more than that.” 

Skotheim indicated an interest in having a more intensive investigation done to find out exactly the scope of the problem. He said Red Deer County might be able to help, as it assisted Delburne when work was done on their arena. 

Skotheim said it’s his understanding the arena dates back to the 1970s. 

“Everything in this arena is getting old. It needs work,” he said. “I think we need to do a little more investigation before we start committing to some big numbers.” 

That could be scary, though. 

“Once we open up some part of it you never know what you’re going to find,” Town of Bowden Mayor Robb Stuart said. 

On the other hand, Stuart said other aspects of the arena are in pretty good shape after the town sank some money into it. 

"The thing is, we put so much into the arena itself: the ice plant and the ice and the boards and everything else – the lighting. Everything else is great,” he said. 

Skotheim suggested simply maintaining the facility now and looking into its problems in detail later. 

“I think we need to make a good decision. It's going to be a big number. I don’t think we have that big number right now,” he said. 

It was suggested that a Community Facility Enhancement Program grant could help cover the cost of the work.  

Coun. Sandy Gamble noted the town has already been approved for such a grant. She recommended finding out when that grant expires. 

Stuart said although only one minor hockey team currently uses the arena, it sees a lot of use from recreational hockey teams.