Tourism Jasper and a partnership of local businesses want to help salvage Jasper’s hockey season.
The Jasper Recreation Facilities Renovation Project—Jasper’s $20 million upgrade to the Arena, Activity Centre and Aquatic Centre—had its official sod-turning ceremony on September 6. The major project, which is scheduled to take the better part of a year, was anticipated to disrupt the facility’s ability to host minor hockey tournaments.
But on Tuesday, September 12, council heard a presentation from Tourism Jasper to help save some of the season—for hockey players, but also for local businesses which benefit from the influx of teams who stay and shop and dine in Jasper.
“Hockey tournaments drive material economic impact to the community,” said James Jackson, President and CEO of Tourism Jasper, noting that the tournaments also serve as a primary fundraising tool for local hockey teams.
Tourism Jasper, alongside private businesses and operators, is proposing a plan is to bring in trailers to serve as temporary hockey dressing rooms. The spaces would allow enough dressing room capacity to host up to 13 historical tournament groups from November to April, Jackson said.
The dressing rooms would not be plumbed, but they would be heated with propane. Electricity would have to be wired in. Two trailers would be divided to create four dressing rooms, Tourism Jasper suggested.
The rental of the trailers is being donated by Edmonton-based construction engineering company, Boxx Modular. The MOJ would be responsible for transporting them to Jasper, and for the operational and maintenance of the temporary assets, Jackson said. Tourism Jasper is estimating a $58,000 budget for their proposed solution.
“Between the businesses, ourselves, and … the municipality, we hope that we’d have a surplus,” Jackson said.
Council received the presentation from Tourism Jasper for information, and directed administration to “continue to pursue a collaboration with Tourism Jasper for the refinement and implementation of an operational plan to enhance the local hockey experience.”
The plan hinges on getting the proper permits in time from Parks Canada.
In the meantime, a traffic detour on Bonhomme Street will remain in place to accommodate the current construction phase on the Jasper Recreation Facilities Renovation Project. This past week, waterline installation at the Fitness and Aquatic Centre was taking place, alongside the ongoing demolition of the change rooms there. At the Arena, the work included concrete slab removal and excavation work for the building’s future extension footings.
The broader scope of the project includes new, modernized dressing rooms in the arena; and a new elevator, a renovated curling lounge, and a renovated lobby in the Activity Centre. The Aquatic Centre will see new, universal change rooms.
Carlson Construction‘s Project Manager, Anthony Papaianni, said because construction is taking place in an occupied building, “it’s a bit different than a normal project.”
Papaianni said between 20 and 50 personnel are on site each day in service of the renovation. He said the foundation of the building, despite its age, is solid.
“There haven’t been any surprises,” he said, in regards to the project.
The next couple of weeks will see more changes to the exterior of the project.
“You’ll see more visual changes, especially at the hockey arena.”
Bob Covey // email@example.com