The MCC Arena in Pincher Creek has seen its fair share of barn burners since being constructed in 1964. Although everyone enjoys a competitive hockey game, nobody wants that phrase to be taken literally.
To protect the town’s arena from the threat of fire, Pincher Creek town council approved a $90,000 alarm system upgrade through Stantec Engineering during the May 10 council meeting. The matter was first discussed during the May 5 committee of the whole meeting but needed to come before a regular council meeting since it exceeded $2,500.
Coun. Brian McGillivray said the town had no other option but to replace the arena’s system.
“It’s an issue of safety. We got to do it,” he said.
Though needed, Coun. McGillivray noted the original 2020 budget item for the alarm system was $12,000 and questioned why the price septupled.
The answer, replied recreation manager Adam Grose, was because originally it was believed only the alarm panel needed replacing.
“Getting some electricians and contractors to come in and look at it, they really couldn’t touch the system because if you’re going to upgrade one thing when it comes to fire safety the whole system needs to be addressed,” Mr. Grose said.
The additional cost, he added, covered replacing everything from the water suppression system to smoke detectors.
In another $90,000 project, a delegation from St. Michael’s School presented its plans for an outdoor basketball court during the May 10 meeting.
The proposed court would be built at the north end of Hank Planger Park and feature a VersaCourt surface. The large, plastic tiles installed over concrete provide a better (and safer) playing surface than concrete alone, though it comes with an $85,000 price tag.
Though expensive, student feedback, coupled with a lifetime warranty, made the school believe VersaCourt is worth it.
St. Michael’s original outdoor basketball hoops were lost during the school’s modernization expansion a few years ago. Recognizing the need to provide another playing surface, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division endorsed the new plans and Friends of St. Mike’s has committed to providing $5,000.
Christy Gustavison, who chairs the St. Michael’s School council, said the court would benefit not only students at the school but the entire community.
“We’ve all seen during the pandemic how important it is to have outdoor play and free play,” she said. “Coincidentally at the same time, the recreational master plan was released for the town, [which] noted that outdoor recreational hard surfaces are a key priority for the citizens of Pincher Creek.”
Efforts to seek funding through various organizations, along with working with a fundraising committee made up of parents to identify other options, make up most of the current project work.
“You can appreciate a $90,000 project isn’t one that will be achieved through bake sales and T-shirt sales in the school,” Ms. Gustavison said, though she added such sales were generating interest.
The delegation requested that town council contribute funds to the basketball court as well as provide information for what development permits might be required. If all goes according to plan, the goal is to begin construction this summer in order for the court to be ready for the new school year.
While open to the idea, council requires written letters of request before making any decisions about contributing funds or writing letters of support for grant applications. However, the overall concept, said Coun. Lorne Jackson, was one the town could get behind.
“With my proximity to the Matthew Halton field, I do see people using the basketball courts down there on a frequent basis, and it’s all ages of people that I see there. I think it will be a great addition,” he said.
The delegation agreed to submit letters of request, and the matter will be considered at a council meeting in the near future.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze