Pearkes Arena, home of the Saanich Braves, remains Saanich’s top public arena despite its age of more than 50 years. (Black Press file photo)

Pearkes Arena, home of the Saanich Braves, remains Saanich’s top public arena despite its age of more than 50 years. (Black Press file photo)

Plans by mayor-elect Haynes point to problems surrounding Pearkes arena

Age of Saanich’s most important public arena tops half century

Mayor-elect Fred Haynes’ public support for a new hockey arena in Saanich raises questions about the long-term future of Pearkes Recreation Centre.

The arena — which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year — remains Saanich’s primary public arena even as “maintenance and life-cycle replacement issues” are increasing each year, as outlined in the District’s strategic facilities master plan.

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Identified issues with the facility include its low capacity to withstand seismic activity, a concern considering its designation as of one Saanich’s community assembly locations.

“Facility staff also note that the ice rink concrete floor slab is far beyond its designed life, has numerous cracks and should be replaced within the next three to five years,” reads the report.

Should Saanich invest resources into the floor, it should also consider addressing the seismic capacity of the structure, it adds.

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Notably though, the report does not include the arena among the buildings that staff consider the highest priority — the parks and public works yard, fire hall no. 2, and the police station.

The arena instead falls into the category of facilities below the category of buildings deemed highest priority. According to the report, services delivery at these buildings remains “manageable” over the next four to seven years. “Capacity issues may be critical requiring attention with [eight to 15 years].”

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The report also warns that the facility’s current condition will require “heightened attention and increased funding” within a foreseeable period of five to 10 years.

Overall, the staff report does not consider the replacement of the arena of the highest priority, but nonetheless makes a case for looking at it sooner rather than later. Notably, the report leaves open the possibility of either renovating the existing structure, as well as “options for removal and replacement with new structure built to building code for community emergency assembly purposes.”

As for the rest of Pearkes, the report says the municipality will be able to deliver programs without any difficulties.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com