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Border Arena future still in question - Oct. 05, 2012


Vern Faulkner/Courier
Dylan Day, 10, chases a rebound as he works on lateral mobility during a goaltender’s clinic held at Border Area Community Arena Thursday afternoon.

Brian Mumford
St. Stephen
The current plans for the Board of the Border Area Community Arena are for this to be the last year of ice at the facility. Board president Bob Coates is quick to say, however, there is still a lot of room for those plans to change.
“I couldn’t speak to the facts of what will happen after this season’s ice,” said Coates, although he said currently “There are no plans to be operating the facility after the opening of the Civic Centre.”
There are no plans to remove the ice-making equipment after the ice comes out, however, for two reasons. The first, if for any reason the opening of the new Garcelon Civic Center is delayed, “We may need to provide some interim ice.”
The Civic Centre is currently slated to open in fall 2013.
Secondly, it’s not possible for the board to anticipate if there will be a situation similar to this year, when there will be problems in other parts of the county that will lead to increased demand for ice in St. Stephen. The opening of the Fundy Arena in Blacks Harbour has been delayed this year, and it’s not the first time mechanical/financial problems have led to trouble at that facility.
The Village of Blacks Harbour is seeking federal and provincial grants to cover the costs of an estimated $170,000-$180,000 repair.
Under similar circumstances in the future, Coates said, it’s not impossible the town would put ice in the Border Arena.
The plans for the future of the King Street facility will be made by a combination of the current board, town council, and public consultations. One thing Coates knows for sure: he doesn’t want to see the arena fall completely out of use, whether there’s ice or not.
“We’re hoping there can be a plan drawn up that can allow it to be repurposed as some sort of recreational facility.”
While no formal announcement has been made, the town has previously outlined plans that point to the facility not being used to make ice once the Garcelon Civic Centre is complete.
In March of 2011, Town of St. Stephen CAO John Ferguson said that the Border Arena would not be operated in conjunction with the Garcelon Civic Centre.
“Ice usage and activity will be transferred to the civic centre and so will the budget to support the ice plant operations,” said Ferguson at the time.
In a question-and-answer interview on the new civic centre published in The Saint Croix Courier April 5, 2011, Ferguson and then-mayor Jed Purcell said that the operating budget for the new civic centre included $160,000 in money to be gained from ceasing use of the ice plant at the Border Arena.

brianmumford@stcroixcourier.ca