Saskatchewan's highest court has dealt a blow to a citizens group in Moose Jaw, Sask., that is opposed to spending $35 million worth of taxpayers' money on a new hockey arena.

In 2006, voters in a referendum approved building a multiplex that would have a number of uses, including being home to a Western Hockey League team, the Moose Jaw Warriors.

At the time, it was thought the entire project would cost $36 million, with the city's portion being $15 million.

Since then, the project has changed. A soccer facility was added and construction costs have escalated.

It's now a $61-million project, with the city responsible for about $35 million.

People opposed to spending that much have sued, taking their fight first to a Queen's Bench judge and then to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

However, in a 14-page decision by three appeal court judges released Wednesday, their claim was dismissed.

The decision notes that another referendum on the multiplex — one that will ask citizens if they approve spending $35 million — will be held Feb. 25.

The multiplex is intended to replace the 49-year-old Moose Jaw Civic Centre.

The unique-looking older building, called the "crushed can" by city residents, is beloved by some hockey fans and hated by others. The WHL says it's not up to its standards and is eager for the city to build something better.