Arts and sports need help

By: Wheel staff

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 09:48 am

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Okotoks town council isn’t looking at a sports vs. the arts decision after a pair of presentations were made at its April 28 meeting.

Council is looking at trying to create something like the great Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and Raging Bull – a winning combination of both sports and the arts.

Okotoks Minor Hockey Association made a proposal for the twinning of the Pason Centennial Arena in order to alleviate the pressure on the three Okotoks arenas for all user groups — not just the hockey players.

As well, a decision at the meetings was made not to have a performing arts centre at Foothills Composite/Alberta High School of Fine Arts, instead opting for a standalone site in the future.

Both propositions are important and hopefully, can be done before the Leafs win another Stanley Cup.

The hockey arena is likely the most doable at this point. The ice plant is capable of operating another arena. Also twinning of the arena means a location does not need to be found (it might make finding a parking spot for an Oilers game even harder, however).

At least hockey players and figure skaters will be parking in Okotoks. The community cannot be in a position in which caps have to be placed on figure skating clubs and hockey due to lack of ice time.

With Okotoks having one of the largest female hockey programs in Alberta, it further emphasizes the need for more ice.

The need for the twinning should not be at the expense of an arts centre.

The idea of sharing an arts facility with the expansion of Foothills Comp was valid, it would have saved money and space. However, Coun. Ed Sands is correct in saying such a facility would have not been big enough with the removal of the population cap, with Okotoks having the potential of reaching more than 50,000 people.

A standalone arts centre would give both the school and the town autonomy over their respective facilities. A town facility would also bring an anchor to the arts scene — at present plays and concerts are having to be held at smaller facilities such as the RPAC and the Okotoks United Church.

Unfortunately, the twinning of the arena and the facility are not-much more than wishes, what is needed is cash.

Sponsorship, such as the Epcor Centre and the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary should be considered. Council has to keep moving forward so Okotoks residents can play — and see plays — in the future.


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