Kneehill county council approves grant boost for Torrington’s Ron Gorr Memorial Arena amidst rising costs

Written by ECA Review

Kneehill County council agreed to increase their grant to the Torrington and District Agricultural Society by providing a one-time grant of $12,500.

Alisa Kolenosky and Jeff Bauer with the Torrington and District Agricultural Society spoke to council during their Aug. 22 regular meeting to share what has been occurring and to request additional funding.

The Ron Gorr Memorial Arena is a year-round hub of activity, offering free public skating, hosting pond hockey groups, and facilitating specialized hockey practices and tournaments.

The facility’s curling rink accommodates leagues, bonspiels and occasional summer events. The versatile banquet hall, seating 225, serves as a wedding venue, voting centre, and community meeting space.

The Kneehill Wellness Centre provides various health-focused activities, while the Torrington Lions Club holds meetings and popular community events.

“We’ve experienced an increase in usage in the past year and anticipate a similar year this year,” said Kolenosky.

Kolenosky explained that the rental income for the 2021/2022 season was just over $38,000 and for the 2022/2023 season, it was just over $62,000. However, she explained that the funds they made went into paying for utilities.

They are currently having issues with their Zamboni, which needs to be fixed.

“At this time our ice resurfacer is on the brink of a major breakdown,” said Kolenosky. “We’ve been in touch with Big Hill, the dealer that we purchased the Zamboni from and they’ve stated that they are unable to complete repairs on the Zamboni as parts are not available any longer.”

A new Zamboni would cost approximately $114,000, and a used Zamboni would cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000. It would cost $13,000 to rent one for the season.

“We’re concerned that we will face interruptions in our ice season if we don’t secure an alternative,” said Kolenosky, explaining that ice rentals brought in the most money for the arena.

Kolenosky told council that they are open to looking into grants and have already done some research; however, she found that most grants required the grant receiver to match the grant price.

On top of the request for funding for the Zamboni, they also requested that Kneehill County look into reevaluating the funding they give to the arena as inflation continues to rise.

She explained that the arena’s rental price is lower than others in the area as they have a smaller ice surface and dressing rooms.

Summertime sports rental space is priced at $50 an hour or $550 per day. Wintertime ice rental is $100 an hour, the curling rink is $70 an hour or $350 a day, and the upstairs banquet room and kitchen is $40 an hour, $250 a day or $500 for the weekend.

“We receive $20,000 per year in our grant from Kneehill County and that ends up being 15 per cent of our annual expenses, our annual grant from the Alberta Ag Society is approximately $25,000 per year,” said Kolenosky. “We’re very fortunate to have three different organizations: our Ag Society, the Curling Club and the Lions Club who all contribute a portion of their AGLC casino proceeds.”

Council agreed to increase their annual grant to $30,000 to help cover the increasing cost of utilities. They also passed a motion to provide a one-time grant of $12,500 to rent a Zamboni for the season.

Jessica Campbell
ECA Review

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ECA Review