Arena may soon have new name

One of many changes in store for busy Bay Roberts sports fa­cil­ity

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY TERRYROBERTS

The as­so­ci­a­tion that op­er­ates the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts has con­firmed that it’s ne­go­ti­at­ing with a na­tional com­pany for the nam­ing rights of the busy 25-year-old sta­dium.

It’s one of sev­eral changes and im­prove­ments tak­ing place at the fa­cil­ity, said Ed Neil, chair­man of the Bay Arena As­so­ci­a­tion Ltd.

Neil would not name the com­pany, but said it has a pres­ence in the re­gion.

“ That’s a way of us rais­ing more money through ad­ver­tis­ing, and we’re try­ing to pur­sue that,” Neil told The Com­pass on Fri­day.

Hav­ing cor­po­ra­tions pay to have their names as­so­ci­ated with a sports fa­cil­ity is not un­com­mon, and fol­low­ing that trend would help the as­so­ci­a­tion pay for costly im­prove­ments to the fa­cil­ity, Neil ex­plained.

The most no­table im­prove­ment to date can be seen resur­fac­ing the ice be­tween uses ev­ery day. It’s a new, state-of-the-art Olympia ice resur­facer that came at a cost of some $115,000.

There are also plans to up­grade the elec­tri­cal sys­tem in the build­ing, which will cost up­wards of $40,000, and badly needed roof re­pairs may also be re­quired at a cost of sev­eral hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars.

The as­so­ci­a­tion raised rental rates by 15 per cent this year to help pay for the ice resur­facer, and Neil hopes that hav­ing com­pa­nies in­crease their ad­ver­tis­ing pres­ence in the build­ing will al­low the as­so­ci­a­tion to pay off its debt be­fore the eight-year term for the loan ex­pires.

The new ice resur­facer ar­rived at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, and re­places an old Olympia model that was pur­chased a quar­ter-cen­tury ago when the fa­cil­ity first opened.

The old ma­chine was re­con­di­tioned sev­eral years ago, but Neil said it was time for a new one. He said there was no hes­i­ta­tion about go­ing with an­other Olympia model.

“It served us so well that we felt it was good to pur­chase an­other one,” he said.

The Cana­dian-built resur­facer is pow­ered by propane. It is highly ad­vanced, and in­cludes a com­put­er­ized ice lev­el­ling sys­tem to en­sure a top qual­ity skat­ing sur­face.

“ So far, the boys are very pleased with it,” said Neil, re­fer­ring to the three arena em­ploy­ees — Dave McLean, Clarence Rus­sell and Dave Sey­mour — who op­er­ate the resur­facer.

“ It’s a very fine piece of equip­ment,” Neil added.

The as­so­ci­a­tion plans to sell the old resur­facer, hope­fully to an­other arena some­where in the prov­ince.

“We’re not look­ing for an ex­or­bi­tant amount of money for it,” Neil said.

The as­so­ci­a­tion pur­chased the resur­facer with­out any govern­ment as­sis­tance. The Town of Bay Roberts, which owns the arena, pro­vided a loan guar­an­tee. Neil said the town has been “very co-op­er­a­tive” over the years.

A hand­ful of recre­ation and sport projects in the Con­cep­tion Bay North and Trin­ity South re­gions have re­ceived grants through the 2010-11 mi­nor project cap­i­tal grant pro­gram (MPCGP).

The pro­gram is de­signed to help off­set the cost of mi­nor up­grades to ex­ist­ing recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties and equip­ment.

More than 90 recre­ation or­ga­ni­za­tions and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties through­out the prov­ince have re­ceived a to­tal of $142,000. In this re­gion, they in­clude the fol­low­ing: • Vic­to­ria recre­ation com­mit­tee — $3,000; • Up­per Is­land Cove parks and recre­ation as­so­ci­atin — $1,500; • GAIA Group, Bay Roberts — $1,500; • Cavendish youth ser­vices com­mit­tee — $1,000; • Heart’s De­sire se­nior’s ex­er­cise group — $1,000; • and Cabot Academy en­vi­ron­men­tal com­mit­tee, Western Bay — $1,000.

“Some­times, a rel­a­tively small amount of fund­ing can make a big dif­fer­ence to an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s abil­ity to pro­vide pro­grams and ser­vices that en­cour­age res­i­dents to take part in ac­tiv­i­ties that pro­mote an ac­tive, healthy life­style,” said Recre­ation Min­is­ter Terry French

“ This pro­gram sup­ports mi­nor cap­i­tal projects and equip­ment pur­chases; com­ple­ments other recre­ation and sport in­fra­struc­ture ini­tia­tives, and fur­ther demon­strates the pro­vin­cial govern­ment’s com­mit­ment to help­ing el­i­gi­ble groups con­duct ac­tiv­i­ties in a safe and invit­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

Un­der the pro­gram, suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants re­ceive grants be­tween $1,000 to $3,000 for projects that sup­port phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties for res­i­dents within a com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing re­gion.

For more, vi s i t http://www.tcr.gov.nl.ca/tcr/sports/mi­nor_pro­jec­t_­cap ital_­grants.html.

Pho­tos by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

A CLEAN SHEET: The skat­ing sur­face at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts is now be­ing main­tained by a brand new, state-of-the-art Olympia ice resur­facer. Shown here op­er­at­ing the new ma­chine last week is Clarence Rus­sell. The fa­cil­ity, which is ad­min­is­tered by the Bay Arena As­so­ci­a­tion Ltd., paid some $115,000 for the resur­facer. The old ma­chine was pur­chased a quar­ter-cen­tury ago, at the same time the Bay Arena first opened. It’s one of sev­eral im­prove­ments be­ing done to the fa­cil­ity.

Ed Neil is chair­man of the Bay Arena As­so­ci­a­tion Ltd.

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