Trent arena delay ‘frustrating,’ says PHA president
All of Peterborough’s ice users, from hockey players to figure skaters, are going to suffer from the one-year delay of the Trent University arena and aquatics facility.
That’s what James Bradburn, president of the Peterborough Hockey Association, says in response to Peterborough councillors deciding to push back the complex's scheduled construction time frame from 2019 to 2020.
At the General Committee meeting on Monday, city councillors received an update report from staff regarding the Trent arena. That report said that due to an $18-million funding cut from the province, the arena wasn’t going to be built in 2019.
At the meeting, staff said that all the approvals are ready and the only component missing is the cash — meaning if the money became available, construction could begin as soon as possible.
“It’s another delay we quite frankly can’t afford,” said Bradburn.
Peterborough has identified the need for three-and-a-half new ice pads in the city, which the Trent twin-pad facility would have partly fulfilled.
But with the arena’s build-date no longer firm, Bradburn says that hockey players — and anyone using Peterborough ice — will have to go outside the community for arena space.
He says that hockey teams and other groups are looking at Norwood, Millbrook, Douro and other communities for their ice time, since its become much harder to find it in Peterborough.
Adding onto the issue, he notes, is that Northcrest Arena — which was supposed to be replaced by the new arena — is dilapidated, and there doesn’t seem to be any money dedicated to fixing it if it fails.
“We’re preparing for a worsecase scenario,” he said.
The planned facility on Trentowned lands, which would be built and operated by the city, has had its share of opponents.
At the Monday meeting, Mayor Therrien asked staff whether it’s not too late to relocate the site. She says there are natural heritage processes that have not yet been completed, and with the delay asked if staff were looking at other sites.
The response, coming from Community Services Commissioner Allan Seabrooke, was no.
“We are not looking at any alternative sites,” he told council.
At the meeting, Seabrooke said, it was still possible that the funds dedicated to the project could be restored. Meetings have been set up with MPP Dave Smith, who Seabrooke says “is prepared to go to bat for us with the ministry.”