KFN pauses bid to build arena on reserve

The Kátł’odeeche First Nation is no longer actively pursuing a plan to build a natural ice arena, emails published by an NWT regulatory board state.

The First Nation had hoped to construct a community arena on a field that previously contained a baseball diamond, next to the Chief Sunrise Education Centre.

In 2017, Peter Groenen – then chief executive of the First Nation – told NNSL he believed an arena would be an important addition, helping to strengthen relations between the First Nation and its neighbours in Hay River.


Estimates for the arena’s total cost ranged from $1.5 million to $5 million. The federal government at one point earmarked $125,000 to help the project.

Regulators approved the project and issued a permit in 2016, but emails shared to the NWT’s public registry suggest no development subsequently took place.

“No work was carried out on this project and there is no plan to renew the permit or continue with the project,” Peter Redvers, the First Nation’s negotiations and consultation lead, wrote to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board last week.

“The funding for the project did not materialize,” Redvers continued. “Therefore, the permit can be allowed to expire.”


In emails shared to the registry, Redvers suggested the project was “never fully supported given its cost.”