The Parks and Recreation Department recently found extra funds totaling $314,500 and requested during the regular March 11 meeting of Moose Jaw city council that those funds be reallocated to other capital projects. 

The funds were budgeted back in 2021 for replacing roofing systems at Pla-Mor Palace, which had deteriorated in many places, resulting in numerous leaks at the facility. However, in February 2024 it was revealed that the metal roofing of one section — the Bert Hunt Arena — was, in fact, still fine. 

“Beginning in 2021, we did some of the consulting and design for the flat roof sections over the main lobby and dressing room areas (at Pla-Mor Palace), and then in ‘22 and ‘23 we had actioned the full replacement of those sections,” explained Derek Blais, director of the Parks and Rec Department. 

Blais explained that in 2023, his department completed the consulting, design, and full restoration of the metal roofing over the Wally Boshuck Arena at a total cost of approximately $175,00.  

The same consulting, design, and restoration process was to proceed in 2024 for the roof of the Bert Hunt Arena, but in February the roofing consultant revealed that budget allocation to be an oversight. 

“The consultant informed us that the roofing system (for the Bert Hunt Arena), which was installed in 1989, was in good condition and does not immediately require restoration,” Blais said.  

“The type of roof that was installed there is one of the top roofs on the market, in his opinion, and is designed to be in service for 40 to 60 years, so that gives us another 5 to 25 years of useful life remaining on that.” 

Blais took full responsibility for the oversight, recognizing that an additional $330,000 would have been valuable during this year’s difficult budget deliberations.  

Parks and Rec proposed the money be reallocated to the following infrastructure needs: 

  • $16,000 to PR-14 Crescent Park Upgrades 

  • $20,000 to PR-23 General Upgrades – Parks 

  • $75,000 to PR-41 Golden Ticket Sports Centre 

  • $68,500 to PR-47 Building Improvements 

  • $95,000 to PR-52 Pathway Upgrades 

  • $20,000 to PR-71 Pla-Mor Palace 

  • $20,000 to PR-73 Cultural Centre 

The $20,000 staying at Pla-Mor Palace is for the main lobby skylight, which is a source of ongoing leaks. That leaves $314,500 for other capital project priorities. 

City councillors wanted to know the feasibility of transferring the money to the city’s accumulated surplus on the way to applying to the nearly $1 million deficit anticipated this year. Brian Acker, director of financial services, said the money would probably be better spent as Parks and Rec had recommended. 

“Ideally, when you’re applying monies towards the accumulated surplus, it should be monies that don’t have some other use, because it’s a little bit of a false savings,” Acker explained. “Certainly, (this money) can be applied to the accumulated surplus and help offset our deficit in 2023, but my feeling would that that work will still be here next year, and at a higher price.” 

Councillor Jamey Logan agreed with Acker that “kicking the can down the road” was not a good idea. However, he pointed out that the deficit is a priority and that council needs to be looking for anything it can to reduce it. 

Each item on Parks and Rec’s proposed list was debated, but councillors eventually agreed the items were well-thought-out and council passed the motion. 

“I know there’s always things fighting for dollars, and I appreciate the work the department’s done on this,” said Councillor Heather Eby.  

“I trust that these are the best projects coming forward, and then just in regards to the initial conversation about perhaps taking this money and putting it into the accumulated surplus, I also would not be in favour of that. 

“I think it gives us a false sense of security and it’s a really short-term bandaid.” 

Moose Jaw City Council agendas, minutes, and recaps can be found at The next regular meeting is March 25.