Cold Lake city council has voted to operate the North Arena for the next season, with a decision surrounding future operations to be based on information from a life-cycle audit for the facility.

For the 2020/2021 season, the arena will operate Monday to Friday for all interested user groups, and to accommodate Cold Lake Minor Hockey’s request for additional ice time. The decision effectively stays council’s decision during the 2020 budget deliberations to shutter the facility.

“We’ve heard from Cold Lake Minor Hockey that the additional ice time is important for their schedule and so we’ve committed to running the facility for this next season the same way we did for the past season,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Ultimately, council will see what the cost of keeping the North Area will be once the audit is complete.”

The life cycle audit is expected to be complete in two to four months. It will give a detailed account of the current status of the facility as well as any upgrades required to maintain the arena into the future, should council decide to keep the facility operating. If the arena were to be decommissioned, it would not be able to be recommissioned in its present state due to the age of the infrastructure supporting the ice plant.

“We are dealing with an old facility, and while we hope it has good bones to work with, council has opted for a clear picture of the current status of the facility, and any costs associated with our options moving forward,” Copeland said.