Residents of Humboldt will have received a question and answers package on the proposed Humboldt Broncos Memorial Tribute Centre in their assessment and utilities postings over the last few days. The information document is all part of engaging the community in a transparent process as the City and the Tribute Centre Committee move closer to a public consultation phase. The documents cover the work done thus far on the project, the rationale for some of the features of the Tribute Centre, along with plans to meet the funding requirements. 

City Manager Joe Day explains that while the recent application for a federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) grant is a major step forward, there is still much to be done on the planning and design side. Unlike the previous ICIP grant award to the City for its wastewater project, this application targets a different avenue, Day explains. 
“There’s about four or five different streams of ICIP funding grant opportunities, some limited to landfill closure, some limited to green or environmental projects. This one is limited to recreational and cultural projects.”

As with any such grant, there is a component of money that must be available through the municipal applicant. If successful, the application would result in a grant for 73 percent of the estimated $35 million cost. The balance of 23 percent would be raised through donations and fundraising efforts, says Day, resulting in no tax additions based on the project. Anything over the agreed upon budget becomes the responsibility of the City. 

“In the case of the Broncos Tribute Centre, the amount that has to be raised locally is right in the $10 million range. We are very optimistic that fundraising and various other partnerships should be able to satisfy that amount quite easily.” 

The challenge, as with any building project, is to bring it in near budget while minding inflationary costs. Day says that the project is early in the design stage, so if cost increases continue to play a part, the designers can find efficiencies in scaling back some aspects. 

As part of the fundraising efforts, the City has employed the services of DCG Philanthropic Services to foster funding partnerships. In its recent expenditures statement, the City noted that over $420,000 had been paid to DCG for its services. Asked about the return on investment to this point, Day stated it was early in the going for the numbers to be concrete. 

“It’s a sizable amount of money we’ve spent with DCG. They have been working diligently to contact national corporations, local corporations, various levels of government to try to assist us in making the overall project a success, particularly on the donation and grant side of it. At this point, we actually haven’t started a campaign where we’ve required people to commit to dollars of donated funds. We can’t say there’s a percentage of return right now because we’re still working with getting commitments of those donations.” 

As it stands, the ICIP grant relates solely to the Tribute Centre planned for attachment to the existing Humboldt Uniplex. The proposed design is anchored by a second ice surface, a large tribute area that will house many of the artifacts and physical donations sent in, training rooms, and additional supporting facilities. While the memorial planned for the crash site is still in the planning stages, the fundraising efforts will include the site north of Tisdale. However, that site is not included in the ICIP grant proposal. 

Day admits that a second ice surface and the attendant facilities will come with additional operating costs, but he notes the City has built those considerations into its planning and the grant application. The preliminary analysis pegged those additional costs at approximately $140,000 annually, noted Day.

“We are certainly looking at ways to enhance the programming and activities at the new centre, as well as the existing Elgar Petersen Arena, to largely mitigate the operating cost and come closer to a break even on that facility.”

Day acknowledges that much work has gone on behind the scenes, by the City and consultants, addressing the proof of concept for such a facility. He says the work done so far bears out the need for a facility that provides a legacy and respects the wishes and needs of the families involved in the Broncos Tragedy. 

“Since we’ve gone through feasibility and those verifications, we now recognize that we need to turn to the community and really start engaging with organizations, individuals, and agencies within our community to help us out refining the design, talking about programming, talking about walking tracks and different spaces that we can integrate into the final design.”

Day anticipates that outreach will begin with some organizations as early as this summer. Later in the fall, the public can expect to see an open house style event, again to update information and solicit feedback. 

Some community members and organizations have been hampered in their ability to offer events such as larger scale conventions and gatherings because of limitations on space and facilities, says Day. The vision of how many people might be served by the newly designed facility has expanded. 

“I’m certainly excited that we have this vision that’s grown a little bit, but will certainly help out those people in our community that have been missing out in certain small ways.”

Those who would like more information can hook into the Broncos Tribute Campaign website.


Listen to the complete interview with City Manager Joe Day.