SASKATOON -- After 15 years operating the Aberdeen Recreation Complex, the town is looking for a buyer to take over the burden of repairing and revitalizing the centre from taxpayers.

“One idea the board came up with was to basically find a community partner to come in, revitalize this rink and make it become the heart of the community again,” said Aberdeen Mayor Ryan White.

“It does need some infrastructure upgrades and that, coupled with maintaining the mortgage on it has put some undue stress on the tax base, so we’re looking for some opportunities that we can deal with that in another way without burdening our tax base.”

Currently funded by the Town and Rural Municipality of Aberdeen, White said a volunteer board of directors manage the centre’s operations.

He said growing infrastructure costs and maintenance, coupled with a global pandemic that forced the town to close the complex for several months, forced the board to look at alternatives to fund the centre.

“How do you operate a community hub when the community can’t gather? When you can’t have sports teams, weddings, bonspiels. It makes it very difficult,” White said.

“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, basically it came to a point where we had to make a decision either we had to greatly increase our commitment from the Town and the RM.”

The facility spans 70,000 square feet and includes an ice hockey rink, the home of the Aberdeen Flames, four curling sheets, exercise rooms, a lounge and spectator seating on the top and bottom levels.

White said pre-COVID, the ice was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“You could come out here on a 35-degree day, kids from the school would be here skating in shorts and t-shirts, so that wears on equipment.”

Currently on McDougall Auctioneers Ltd., there’s a bid of $160,000. According to the listing online, all offers are subject to the approval and acceptance by the Aberdeen and District Charities Inc. board of directors and the highest or any bid will not necessarily be accepted.

The auction closes July 30 at 1 p.m.