The City of Meadow Lake is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the fire early Sunday (June 6) that destroyed the Meadow Lake and District Arena.
“So far, we know the fire originated at the storage building behind the arena and then progressed into the arena itself,” reads a statement issued by city council Friday morning (June 11). “The cause of ignition is under investigation by the RCMP. Anyone who has information about the incident is encouraged to contact the RCMP.”
City council held a special, in-camera meeting Thursday evening (June 10) to discuss the fire as well as next steps.
“As a community we are still reeling from the unexpected loss of our arena,” the statement continues. “We know there is a lot of uncertainty and sorrow in Meadow Lake and surrounding area right now, and as city council we want to get as much accurate information out to residents as quickly as possible.”
The arena was insured to replace the facility as it existed, and the city has been in discussions with its insurance company to determine what its options are and how much of a new facility is going to be covered. In addition, the city’s contents were insured, but third-party contents of user groups stored within the facility were not.
“We intend to start rebuilding the facility as soon as reasonably possible,” the statement reads. “We know this process will take a minimum of two years to complete, and we want to ensure the rebuilding is done in a thoughtful way that considers the current and future needs of the community… The need for a multi-use facility has been discussed in the community for a number of years, and we believe this could be an opportunity to incorporate other community needs and uses, beyond the arena. We want to consider all the options for rebuilding a facility that will continue to be the at heart of our community for years to come.”
The city does plan to seek input from community organizations and residents, bit the way in which this will happen has yet to be finalized. As for events and sports bookings going forward, the city has indicated some flexibility, patience and scheduling changes are going to be necessary.
“Other communities in the region are making their ice surfaces available for Meadow Lake residents where possible,” the statement notes.
The city also said efforts will be made to salvage anything of value that may still be inside the remnants of the arena.
“We cannot allow anyone from the general public to enter what is left of the arena for recovery efforts as it is not safe,” the statement adds. “If there is any memorabilia that is able to be salvaged, we will do our best to recover it. Under the direction of structural engineers on site this week we were able to retrieve six jerseys from the front lobby area and they are in the process of being professionally cleaned and restored. Unfortunately, many items of memorabilia and significance were destroyed.”
Meanwhile, the city also addressed the desires by many residents to raise money or contribute funds to the area and its various user groups.
“The city is planning to coordinate fundraising for a new facility, and will have more details on this as soon as possible,” the statement reads. “If you are interested in making a donation in the short term, please contact the city manager (Diana Burton) or parks and recreation manager (Regan Beck). The city is able to provide tax receipts for financial donations.”
Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to contact the RCMP at 306-236-2570 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
“In closing, council knows how important the Meadow Lake and District Arena has been as a community hub, and is committed to keeping the rebuilding process moving forward in a timely manner,” the statement concludes. “We all have fond memories of time spent in this facility and want to lead this project well on behalf of all our residents and community. We will continue to provide updates as they become available, and ask for patience and understanding for all of our staff, and our parks department in particular, as they adjust to this change.”