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Enmax Centre master plan revealed

As Lethbridge considers what to do with the aging Enmax Centre, three very different options are up for debate.

Maintain the current arena, modify the current set up for more seating and restaurants, or option three: build a whole new complex.

Enmax Centre general manager Kim Gallucci believes that if they move into scenario two and then plan to go in the direction of the third, things will turn out well for everyone.

“(Number) two gives us a chance to expand some of the benefits to the patrons and our clients, and generate a bit more revenue for a much smaller capital cost,” Gallucci said.

Enmax Centre has been a fixture in Lethbridge since it was built in 1974. Its first big gig was the 1975 Canada games.

Since then, it has hosted countless events, but the arena is showing its age and although there have been a series of upgrades, Gallucci believes in thinking ahead.

“We had completed the renovation in 2012. That renovation gave the Enmax Centre another 20 years, which we are well now into,” Gallucci explained “And as you know, if you want to plan for the future, you should start early.”

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The report on the centre was accepted by the committee as information, with council members insisting they’re not agreeing to spend $150 million, at least not yet.

Councilor Belinda Crowson says this is the first step in a long path.

“Part of the motion was to take some of it and to plan for the operating budget and plan for the capital budget, and both of them are down the line,” Crowson said. “But it takes a long time for the work to be done on any budget request… so that’s why we need to have that information. Again, it’s just part of the process.”

Part of the third plan included having an Olympic-sized ice surface or large space, as well as a new 7,000-seat capacity hockey arena for the Lethbridge Hurricanes. There was also mention of having a secondary sports team call the opposing side of the Hurricanes barn home, such as a basketball or lacrosse team so as to not interfere with the premier tenants of the WHL.

Should the new complex be built, there was also talks of hosting even more big events. The current arena hosts just over 85 larger events per year, with the projected venue being able to host 129 events in the same time span.

With improvements and new things, this also means that ticket prices would have to go up.

Currently, WHL tickets are around $14.

This would not be the case for the new venue, which has a projected cost to build of between $100 million to $150 million.

No need to write to council just yet, as this was merely an idea from one company. They had all the information they requested, but they didn’t have all the information on a grand scale like the city council and budgets will.

“These companies only see the project that they were appointed to gather and put together,” Crowson explained. “City council will look at this holistically and with everything in mind, and debate and discuss this until we arrive at the amiable solution best suited to fit all of the publics interests and needs.”


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