Fundraisers hope wallets open up like the clouds did during their kick-off Oct. 29 and make it rain cash for a new arena in Mount Brydges.
The wet, chilly weather could not cool the enthusiasm as a giant thermometer sign marking donation progress was revealed ahead of the Junior C Bulldogs game, a 3-3 tie with the North Middlesex Stars. The Bulldogs’ 50-50 draw that night was the first donation.
A big part of the successful push to kibosh consultant Nustadia’s recommendation to Strathroy-Caradoc council this past May that Tri Township Arena be torn down as early as this upcoming spring is a group of five women: Liz Taylor, Kate Sibley, Cheryl McFadden, Sarah Hogeveen, and Chrissy Kernaghan. Together they run the Mt. Brydges Needs an Arena Committee.
Kernaghan explained now that council has shown they are headed in the same direction, they want to help with the money raised to support amenities that may not be covered in a new arena budget from the municipality.
Strathroy-Caradoc council voted at its Sept. 27 recreation infrastructure renewal committee meeting to instruct staff to start planning with a building committee for a new indoor ice pad and to also incorporate a multi-purpose facility if financially feasible.
“With a multi-use facility we can offer more events. We can offer more inclusive programming for our younger, our seniors, everybody, because not everybody is going to be able to skate but if we have a facility that incorporates multi-purpose rooms and multi-purpose activities then we’ll be able to include more within our community,” said Kernaghan, a skating coach for 29 years and founder of the Mount Brydges Magic Blades synchronized skating program.
And much of the community has shown its support, with signs in support of an arena dotting the town.
“In Mount Brydges, this is kind of the key centre point for all of our activities. It is not just an arena,” said Kernaghan, who was shown support from her community at the arena when she lost her daughter and husband in a collision. A touching memorial for her daughter hangs. in the lobby.
“They come in support of the good times, the sad times. They come always and they come here.”
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is a partner with the municipality in the arena. Its Social Services and Youth Rec have opportunities for family members like the learn to skate times with equipment provided Nov. 14 and 21.
As for the Bulldogs, they were later defeated 6-5 at North Middlesex and District Arena but bounced back with a 5-2 win at home against Lucan. They have three games on the road this week before returning home to face Thamesford Nov. 21.
They sit third in the West Yeck Division with a 6-3-0-1 record, one point back of first. Joe Capirchio is off to a blistering start to lead the team with 18 points in nine games.
Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner