Trent arena de­lay ‘frus­trat­ing,’ says PHA pres­i­dent

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - TAY­LOR CLYSDALE PETER­BOR­OUGH THIS WEEK

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.”

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