There's been a change of plans for the massive renovation slated for the Gretna Arena.
In 2021, the Municipality of Rhineland applied for a grant through the federal government's Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program and got word it was approved for $798,000 in April 2023. It was exciting news for Council and the community, and the Municipality quickly got to work with an engineering firm to put together the design work and issue a request for proposals/tender. Those high hopes were quickly dashed when Reeve Don Wiebe says the project tender came back at $1.6 million dollars, far higher than the original estimate of $1 million back in 2021. This left the Municipality with an $800,000 dollar bill to offset the federal contribution, again, more than the $200,000 it was originally supposed to chip in. 

While Council had stowed away $500,000 because of how long the grant process was taking, Wiebe says in the end, Council felt another $300,000 was just too much. As a result, it decided not to move ahead with the federal program or the tender that was submitted. 

"It is disheartening because, initially, we thought for $200,000 we get a million-dollar upgrade there. This is a good deal. But it's just become to the point where it's just too much money to put in that place and we can't quite justify it," said Wiebe. "We went from $200,000 to $500,000 and we thought, this still works. But this sort of crossed the line."

All this being said, improvements to the arena aren't totally off the table. 

Instead, Wiebe says Council will do some homework and get local estimates to see what improvements can be done with the $500,000 the Municipality set aside. It will also apply for a provincial grant to try and leverage a few more dollars.