The Reeve for the Municipality of Rhineland hopes work can begin as soon as possible on a massive renovation to the Gretna Arena. 

This past week, the federal government announced $798,000 through its Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program to support the updates that are intended to make the facility more energy efficient and accessible. The Municipality is also kicking in $435,000 towards the project. 

At its last meeting, Council approved a resolution for Associated Engineering to move ahead with procuring contractors for the job and proceed with the plan. 

"We kind of would prefer not to do it during the winter season because then people don't get a chance to use the ice surface, but hopefully we can start very soon," said Don Wiebe.

He explained, the Municipality first got wind of this funding program about a year-and-a-half ago, and hired an engineering firm to help write the proposal and construct the argument that the upgrades would improve energy costs while improving the facility at the same time. 

"So it happened! We got the grant!"

"We'd been struggling with the arena," added Wiebe. "We'd been doing some cosmetic things but when you start doing that, you realize how much as to be done. Looking at the energy costs of the building and the conditions inside, and the expense that the heating and electrical takes, we needed some support for that because finding a just over a million dollars locally is very very hard to do."

Planned upgrades include improved roof and insulation, the replacement of all exterior doors and windows, upgraded ventilation, and the replacement of old, outdated fixtures with new low-flow fixtures to also improve water conservation. Once complete, these enhancements are expected to reduce the facility's energy consumption by an estimated 30.7% and greenhouse gas emissions by 0.17 tonnes annually.

In addition, further upgrades will also improve accessibility of the facility. Signage will be installed and renovations to the public washrooms will make the building more accessible to residents with disabilities. Building safety will also be enhanced through the installation of non-slip flooring in the viewing area and washrooms, and upgrades to the fire safety and exiting system.