PICTOU – The fate of the Hector Arena is now in the hands of the community.
The Hector Arena commission spelled out very clearly Wednesday night that if it can’t raise the $150,000 needed for floor and board work in the arena, it might not open next fall.
“Rinks are expensive to maintain,” said Pictou town councillor Bob Naylor. “We have to face that fact.”
The Hector Arena has undergone roof repairs this past winter and now it is time to concentrate on the floor and boards, with a price tag of about $680,000.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has donated $195,000 to the project, the Town of Pictou and Municipality of Pictou County came up with $95,000 and there is a request to the province for $145,000. The Hector Arena is also donating $110,000 from its capital fund so that leaves an additional $150,000 that needs to be raised by the community.
“We’ve never had so much money together all at once,” Naylor said. “It is a big project and it’s not going to happen by town and government (contributions). It is going to take everyone.”
Commission members also said the renovations could also include a walking track around the ice surface as making the changes to its benches for sledge hockey.
Andy Thompson, deputy warden with the Municipality of Pictou County and a commission member, said such improvements would not only increase the usage of the arena, but also allow it to tap into some other grant money that would go towards the maintenance of the facility.
Commission chair David Parker said the government money needs to be spent by March 2014 or it is gone forever.
Since the Hector Arena is used by minor hockey until the end of March and the Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition is held in early September, there is a limited time during which the floor can be replaced.
He said work has to be done either between May and September or after the exhibition in mid-September.
“If we have to go with the later time frame, you are looking at losing ice time because we wouldn’t be able to make ice before January.”
Hector Arena commission member Craig Clarke suggested that two groups of community members be formed. One group would go after corporate sponsorship with a goal of about $90,000 while the second group would be responsible for raising about $60,000 through fundraising initiatives and private donations.
“It is a short time frame, but it can be done. It has to be done,” he said. “You have to decide if you want the rink here. Yes or no. Once that money is gone, it is never coming back. None of us can walk away from here and say someone else is going to do it.”
The commission will be holding a meeting next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the committee room of the Municipality of Pictou County building to organize these two committees. Anyone interested in volunteering their time is invited to attend.