Pictou County rises well to challenges. That will come in handy for the one issued for the Hector Arena.
The community has been called on for help to raise a portion of the funding toward necessary upgrades of the floor and boards of the Pictou facility: $150,000. The total cost for the work is about $680,000, with the rest coming from ACOA, the province, the town and the county.
The consequence of not coming up with the money could be the arena not opening in the fall.
On the larger stage, Pictou County recently saw completion of the Wellness Centre, a mammoth project that required financial support from the community, both corporate and private. Its opening last November was celebrated as the kind of goal this area can accomplish.
But the current demands for the Pictou arena – in the shadow of the Wellness Centre success – might have some local people saying ‘I told you so.’ The critics of that larger project feared its opening could spell the doom of the existing arenas in the surrounding towns.
There are all sorts of reasons why we can’t let that happen – and not just to prove the naysayers wrong.
As we saw with Stellarton’s arena needs, residents are attached to their local recreational spots and will rally when their future is threatened.
Convenience is one factor – taking the kids to the rink in town, rather than to a spot halfway across the county.
But this is also about the integrity of the towns and the challenges they face with bits eroded here and there. This is something we’ve seen in many smaller communities across the province as employment opportunities and services tend to gravitate to the larger centres.
When you lose your arena, and people have to head elsewhere for sports or events like the exhibition, that’s just the start. The followup is families finding one more reason not to locate in the community.
This fundraising effort is vital, and we wish it the best. It’s about an arena, a focal point in Pictou and a whole lot more.