Chairperson, Regional District of Nanaimo
Add some cool thoughts about a twin ice sheet to your summer musings
With the first day of summer arriving on June 21st, it may seem unusual to turn your thoughts to ice, particularly the indoor variety. But if you live in the northern part of the Regional District, play ice hockey, figure skate, enjoy skating or watching these sports, it's not too early to start thinking about the District 69 Arena Twinning Project.
The District 69 Arena is operated by RDN Recreation and Parks for residents of the City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas 'E' (Nanoose Bay), 'F' (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington), 'G' (French Creek, Dashwood), and 'H' (Qualicum Bay, Bowser, Deep Bay). Located in the Parksville Community Park, the District 69 Arena was built in 1974. Since then, the population served by the area's only ice sheet has grown by more than 60%. Use of the facility has reached the point that there isn't enough ice time to meet current demand, let alone accommodate future demand by hockey teams, skating programs, and other arena users.
Studies such as the 1995 Recreation Master Plan and the 1998 District 69 Recreation Facility Plan substantiated the need for a second ice sheet in District 69. This past March, an Arena Committee established by the District 69 Recreation Commission and composed of various user group and community representatives completed a review of ice sheet options. The Recreation Commission agreed with the Committee's assessment of the options and its recommendation that further work be undertaken to advance the twinning of the District 69 Arena. The RDN Board supported that approach at its April 10 meeting.
A consultant is in the process of being engaged by the Regional District to compile more information about the Project. This work involves developing an initial design and layout of the twin ice sheet facility, where it would best fit on the site in consultation with the City of Parksville, and cost estimates for the project. In September, the Arena Committee and the Recreation Commission are scheduled to receive the consultant's report. After reviewing the report and providing for public input, the Commission will submit its recommendations to the RDN Board, and the Arena Twinning Project could go to referendum to obtain electorate consent this November. Watch for further information at that time.
In the meantime, it's not too early to start thinking about the need for a second ice sheet and where you stand on this initiative. Building recreation facilities involves new costs, but having a second ice sheet will generate long term benefits to District 69 residents, the local economy and the region as a whole. They include making skating and ice team sports more accessible to District 69 residents, relieving pressure on arenas in other areas of the region, and potential economic spin-offs that result from being able to accommodate larger tournaments and other community events.