KEEP­ING IT RUN­NING

Com­mu­nity meet­ing to save Pier Rink.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - RECRE­ATION BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

The vol­un­teer board that op­er­ates the Whit­ney Pier Rink will sit down again this week to plan a com­mu­nity meet­ing as it fights to keep the 50-year-old rink open. Jack Pear­son, a mem­ber of the vol­un­teer board that op­er­ates the cash-strapped fa­cil­ity, said the board’s six mem­bers and Syd­ney Whit­ney Pier Lib­eral MLA Derek Mom­bour­quette met Fri­day to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion.

He said they’ll meet again Wed­nes­day to draw up an agenda for a Feb. 16 or Feb. 17 meet­ing where they’ll try to gauge the level of com­mu­nity sup­port.

“If we don’t get the in­ter­est then it’s not worth the ef­fort to try to keep it go­ing next year,” said Pear­son, 78, who fig­ures an in­fu­sion of young blood on the board will be as im­por­tant as money if they want to con­tinue op­er­at­ing the hockey arena.

“If we can get all that and the peo­ple will back us on this stuff and join the com­mit­tees, we’ll try to keep the build­ing open for an­other cou­ple of years.”

The rink’s strug­gle to pay its bills was ex­ac­er­bated when the Syd­ney Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion moved the 21 weekly hours it had booked at the Whit­ney Pier Rink to the new Mem­ber­tou Sports and Well­ness Cen­tre.

Af­ter threat­en­ing to shut off the elec­tric­ity, Pear­son said Nova Sco­tia Power has given the fa­cil­ity un­til the end of the sea­son to pay an $8,000 bill. In or­der to make good on that, Pear­son said they board will ex­plore ways to keep the Whit­ney Pier Rink open in the sum­mer by host­ing flea mar­kets and other events.

He said the rink’s fu­ture also hinges on the out­come of a Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­spec­tion set to take pace in May. That en­gi­neer­ing re­port by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, which owns the land but not the build­ing, will de­ter­mine the struc­tural in­tegrity of the build­ing, which was built in 1967.

“We’re just try­ing to let the peo­ple know that it’s worth sav­ing — it’s a good build­ing as of yet,” said Pear­son, who said the com­mu­nity sup­port has been strong, with sev­eral busi­nesses ex­press­ing in­ter­est in help­ing out fi­nan­cially.

As well, an on­line GoFundMe cam­paign launched last week for the com­mu­nity arena had raised $1,310 of its $25,000 goal as of Mon­day evening.

“All of I’ve heard is don’t quit — keep fight­ing them,” said Pear­son.

Pear­son

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