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Morinville sells Ray McDonald arena

The Arena Inc. to pay $200,000 for takeover
arena sale CC 0006
SOLD! — Morinville town council voted June 23 to sell the Ray McDonald Sports Centre to The Arena Inc. for $200,000. The venerable sports centre has been the town's main hockey rink since the 1960s. CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

Town council has agreed to sell the Ray McDonald arena.

Morinville council voted 6-0 June 23 (Coun. Rebecca Balanko absent) to sign a sale agreement for the Ray McDonald Sports Centre with The Arena Inc.

Originally built as a Royal Canadian Air Force hangar in 1942, the Ray McDonald was repurposed as Morinville’s indoor ice arena in 1960. Sky-high repair costs prompted the town to begin pursuing a replacement arena – now known as the Morinville Leisure Centre – back in 2013.

Administration closed the Ray McDonald in March 2019 and had plans to demolish the arena side of it for $2 million. The investor group The Arena Inc. offered to buy the place last August for use as a hockey rink. Council drew up the sale conditions in March.

The sales agreement will see The Arena Inc. pay $200,000 over five years to buy the Ray McDonald arena and its naming rights as-is without the attached parking lot. The group will ink a new five-year lease agreement with the Morinville Curling Club (which uses curling rink attached to the arena) and a non-compete clause with the leisure centre.

A report to council showed Morinville wouldn’t make much money off this sale, as it still has a $184,805.08 debt to pay on the arena related to some extra rooms added to it decades ago. Still, the town would save on demolition costs, and would also gain tax dollars, a new business and more visitors.

Coun. Sarah Hall said this sale was a long time coming, adding the town would have come out ahead even if it sold the arena for a dollar.

The Gazette was unable to reach members of The Arena Inc.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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