Land donated for new indoor arena in Buckhorn

·3 min read

A local business owner in the Municipality of Trent Lakes has donated four acres of land for a new indoor skating rink to be built in Buckhorn.

While the municipality already has a skating rink in the hamlet, Mayor Janet Clarkson said because the ice isn’t artificial, it causes problems each year for volunteers.

"It takes them 100 hours to put the ice in, and it takes Mother Nature six hours to take it out. Last year, they put it in three times, " Clarkson said. "So, it’s become very evident that it is not feasible to keep this thing."

Although Clarkson said it would be easier to renovate the current rink and add artificial ice to it, the Buckhorn Community Centre doesn’t want to let the municipality use the property anymore.

To add artificial ice, the rink would need to have washrooms, Clarkson said. The septic servicing could go underneath the baseball field, she said, but community centre officials don’t want to do that.

Professional local residents have volunteered to excavate the land and do the planning of the new rink, which will be about a kilometre up the road from the existing one, Clarkson said.

"It’s heartwarming to have the calls from the people who say, ‘We’ll help. This is what we can do, ’ " she said. "But the pushback we’re getting from some of the community and some of the organizers specifically coming out of the community centre, it’s hard to handle."

The majority of seniors from the community centre have come to the region to retire from larger areas, Clarkson said.

"So, their children grew up where they had rinks, they had soccer fields, they had all of these facilities, so then when they move down here and they retire here, they don’t see that as being necessary for our children because they’re not in touch with them, " she said.

A survey involving more than 700 local individuals who have attended the current rink, in addition to 90 per cent of families whose children attend the Buckhorn Public School, are all in favour of the new rink, Clarkson said.

With more people from the GTA moving to the municipality each year, the new facility will continue to benefit new residents in the coming years, Clarkson said.

"Many rural communities in Ontario are losing their young people to the city. This area, because of our infrastructure, we’ve actually gone the opposite way, " she said.

When she began to campaign 12 years ago, Clarkson said she biked from one end of the township to the other to talk to residents.

"You wouldn’t have talked to one in 50 families that actually lived here. Every four years, that changed. This year, it would be one in 10, " she said.

Because of cost, lifestyle and facilities, folks from the GTA are trading in their city life, for a more laid-back lifestyle in Trent Lakes, Clarkson said.

"More and more people are actually living here and commuting to Toronto. They either work totally from home, or they commute to Toronto with people in the area to an apartment in the city that they share for four or five days, but they live here with their families the other days, " she said.

The new rink will provide a place for the 155 students who attend the public school, along with new and existing residents, to skate, Clarkson said.

"The most important thing that you can do is support children. Because if you support a child, that child will be self-supporting all of its life, " she said.

"If you don’t, and it falls into the social system, it will do nothing but cost all of its life. If we spend on the little people, if you look at it no other way but money, it’s the best money we will ever spend."

Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: mlentz@peterboroughdaily.com

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner