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Long-awaited upgrade project begins at Oliver arena

Cost of work is estimated at $3.8 million
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has awarded a contract for more than $3.8 million for work on the Oliver and District Arena. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen photo)

Construction crews have begun working on a project that will soon give new life to the close to 60-year-old Oliver and District Arena.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and Town of Oliver announced this week that rehabilitation work is underway at the rink, with the replacement of the arena ice slab and installation of an energy recovery system among the planned upgrades.

Built in 1968, town officials say many of the "key components" of the building have reached the end of their life.

The cost of the project is estimated at $3.844 million. Work is expected to be complete by early fall of this year.

"We are grateful that the project is now underway as its completion will ensure the Oliver and District Arena will remain a fixture in our community and continue to serve the residents of the Oliver area for decades to come," said Martin Johansen, the town's mayor.

The federal government approved a grant for the project at $2.3 million, with the remaining funds coming from Oliver's capital reserves and borrowing.

RDOS officials awarded the contract to Wildstone Constriction in April 2024.

Along with its new ice slab and upgrades to the building's refrigeration, renovations to arena's change rooms, washrooms and kitchen are also planned.

The facility will not be available for public use during construction, Oliver town officials said.

"The Oliver hockey rink is a very important part of the Osoyoos Indian Band's relationship with our local community," said Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie. "For over 50 years, Osoyoos Indian Band members have rented ice time, played in hockey tournaments and met many lifelong friends at the Oliver rink. Many important memories are located in that hockey rink and many future memories will be created there."


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