Old Per­li­can ready for rink

Two years in, lo­cal com­mit­tee well ahead of where it ex­pected to be

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

There’s a lot of ex­cite­ment in Old Per­li­can and the sur­round­ing area over the new out­door skat­ing rink. Lo­cated next to the John Hoskins Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, the rink is large and has boards that used to be part of S.W. Moores Memo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace. The com­mit­tee re­spon­si­ble for get­ting the project off the ground is sur­prised to be so far along with it.

Most days in Old Per­li­can when kids are get­ting off school, you’ll see a few hang­ing around the boards that sur­round a fresh sheet of ice.

Like many in the Trin­ity Bay com­mu­nity, they’re anx­ious to find out when they can lace up their skates and give the new out­door rink a whirl.

Mem­bers of the Old Per­li­can Re­cre­ation Arena Com­mit­tee will be happy to get a few weeks of skat­ing this win­ter. Ul­ti­mately, they’re amazed to be so far along with the project only two years re­moved from form­ing the com­mit­tee.

“When we started out with this, we fore­casted to get where we are here now on a four-year plan,” ex­plained Cliff Mor­gan, one of the com­mit­tee mem­bers. “We’ve done it in two years.”

An out­door rink is far from a for­eign con­cept when it comes to the com­mu­nity’s past. But none of those will touch what the new one — lo­cated next to the John Hoskins Com­mu­nity Cen­tre — has to of­fer.

It’s a 155-feet by 75-feet play­ing sur­face.

“These kids down here have noth­ing,” com­mit­tee mem­ber Dar­ren Noo­nan told The Com­pass last week. “We had a lit­tle pond in there we used to skate on, but when we de­cided to go to coun­cil, there were 52 kids on a pond about a quar­ter the size of this.”

Noo­nan and fel­low res­i­dent

We had a lit­tle pond in there we used to skate on, but when we de­cided to go to coun­cil, there was 52 kids on a pond about a quar­ter the size of this. Dar­ren Noo­nan

Corey Squires met with coun­cil, and from that meet­ing the com­mit­tee was born.

Ac­cord­ing to Mor­gan’s es­ti­mate, ap­prox­i­mately $150,000 has gone into cre­at­ing the rink. A lot of that work wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily be vis­i­ble. Ex­ca­va­tors dug five feet be­low the sur­face and re­placed the fill with blasted rock and shale.

“We built it up in lay­ers so, hope­fully, the foun­da­tion is good,” said com­mit­tee mem­ber Chad Payne.

The Town of Old Per­li­can do­nated the land, and with Har­bour Grace open­ing its new arena last fall, boards at S.W. Moores Memo­rial Sta­dium were no longer needed. The com­mit­tee made a pitch to the town, with coun­cil agree­ing in Septem­ber to sell the boards for $10,000.

The com­mit­tee has pulled its weight with fundrais­ing, stag­ing all sorts of events. The At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency also helped out in a big way, pitch­ing in $60,000.

“We’ve got­ten as much sup­port in Bay de Verde as we got in Old Per­li­can,” Noo­nan noted.

Payne reck­ons the rink will do won­ders for chil­dren in Bay de Verde and the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Noo­nan has a child en­rolled in mi­nor hockey, and he can see an ob­vi­ous ben­e­fit to hav­ing a rink in Old Per­li­can as far as ex­tra ice time goes. It takes about an hour to drive to the sta­dium in Har­bour Grace.

“I know the com­mit­ment it takes to leave Old Per­li­can and go to Har­bour Grace and play a hour of hockey, be back home and the next day, go up again,” he said. “Not ev­ery­one can do it; the kids here de­serve to be able to skate like this as much as the crowd in Har­bour Grace.”

Be­yond the win­ter, the com­mit­tee hopes to see the rink used for ball hockey, com­mu­nity events and as a walk­ing space for se­niors.

There’s even a long-term goal to one day en­close the rink and ob­tain a freez­ing sys­tem. With that, the com­mit­tee reck­ons it could main­tain an ice sur­face for up to six months.

“With the weather in Old Per­li­can and the Avalon so un­pre­dictable, with a shel­ter you would get a lot more out of it,” said Payne. “A mild day, the ice wouldn’t melt so fast. Freez­ing rain won’t stick to it.”

PHO­TOS BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/TC ME­DIA

Four of the nine mem­bers of the Old Per­li­can Re­cre­ation Arena Com­mit­tee are, from the left, Chad Payne, Corey Squires, Cliff Mor­gan and Dar­ren Noo­nan.

Dar­ren Noo­nan waters the ice.

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