Exciting updates are set to happen to a major Dryden facility after City Council approved major upgrades.  

Dryden City Council has officially approved a $2,817,880 contract to provide major upgrades to the Dryden Memorial Arena. The Arena is expected to receive a two-story expansion that will include accessible washrooms, a multipurpose meeting space, and a new viewing area.  

Upgrades are set to begin this year. 

The Arena, originally constructed in 1978, was in much need of some upgrades. The facility hosts more than 25 tournaments and special events every year, these upgrades will allow for a more inclusive environment. 

The process to secure the funding for this expansion was started in 2016 when the Dryden Recreation Enhancement And Modification (DREAM) committee was assembled to raise funds associated with applying for a large-scale infrastructure fund, once one became available.  

In September of 2019, staff were able to apply for the long-awaited recreation infrastructure fund that was released in the form of the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Program (ICIP).  

With the approved budget of $2.8 million, the Government of Canada is expected to contribute 40%, the province will contribute 33.3% and the City will pay the remainder at 26.7%.  

The DREAM committee has pledged $308,054 of the City’s percentage, leaving the remainder of $822,030 for the City. The City will continue to explore further external funding opportunities such as the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund which could potentially cover up to 50 per cent of its costs.  

Although higher than the original budget, Council and City staff recommended continuing with the process and commencing the building process in 2022 before costs go up further due to inflation.  

The expansion will include four fully accessible dressing rooms in the Chris Pronger Rink, each with separate showers and washroom facilities.  

The second floor of the expansion will include a multipurpose meeting space, more accessible washrooms and a storage space.  

There will be a new viewing area over Rink #1 that can be used for other events and fundraising opportunities.  

Finally, two stairwells and a full-service elevator will also be included in the expansion.  

The expansion project will be split between three companies, RJ Concrete Construction, JML Engineering and Alfred Wood Architects. Next step in the process, Community Services Manager Steve Belanger can begin to work with engineers and architects to finalize the plans.  

“There is the potential [to start] pouring the foundation in September. You know, if we pour in September, then the project will continue to move on. The goal is to try and get the foundation complete before winter sets in so that it will allow them to continue with the walls through the winter,” explained Belanger.  

The expansion was originally expected to begin in 2023 but “proceeding in 2022 would result in significant savings due to the inflationary increases that we are experiencing right now.” 

“It sounded like we could have seen an increase of several hundred thousand dollars if we looked to secure the contract for next year.” 

This planned expansion is only one of the six projects that were approved in the City’s successful application to the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Program.