Structure beginning to take shape at Tyne Valley Events Centre

·3 min read

Construction is underway for the new Tyne Valley Events Centre to replace the arena that was destroyed by fire in December 2019.

Work started in October and now some foundation and steel structures for the walls are in place.

"It's definitely been a long time coming and a ton of hours and meetings," said Jeff Noye, mayor of Tyne Valley and the chair of the rebuild project.

"It's great to drive by and see that glimmer of hope, kind of thing, and I don't think there is a minute of the day when there is somebody not parked outside watching the construction going on."

Some community members are excited as the roughly $10-million project begins to take shape, very much like the arena in a neighbouring community built several years ago.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

"Wellington was a huge support as well. They were very willing to work with us and provide us any information we needed which did speed up the process," said Kyle Maynard, president of the Tyne Valley and Area Community Centre Rink Board.

"So basically we went with their footprint and we modified it slightly to make it work better for what we thought we needed."

Fundraising continues as the community needs to raise around $1 million to complete the project. Federal and provincial funding has already been committed and money from insurance will assist in covering some of the rebuild.

'More comfortable for people'

The final tender will be closing in a couple of weeks, which will give organizers a better idea of how much money will still need to be raised.

Noye said reaching that goal will be a challenge as the pandemic has impacted event fundraising, but he is confident that they will be able to hit that final number once it is known.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

The much larger facility will hold an NHL-size rink, fitness areas, offices and some community spaces.

The event centre will be built to support the community year-round, Noye said, hosting events like the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival featuring the Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship.

"We just kind of made the arena make do with what we had," Noye said.

"But now we can kind of plan for having those kind of crowds and be able to make it more comfortable for people and … be able to do those events better."

The facility has been designed to be a green facility with state-of-the-art rink technologies. The goal down the road will be to get a net-zero rating — which means the building would produce the same amount of energy it uses.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

The government funding also required a certain level of greenhouse gas mitigation in the build.

Local teams who were users of the facility that burned down are spread out and using other facilities in West Prince.

The former rink was very busy, with about 70 hours of ice time rentals per week.

"Since the rink burned, it's definitely a different vibe around the community," Maynard said.

"We're gracious for the support of all the different arenas but nothing, nothing like being at your home arena."

If the construction timeline goes as planned, the new facility could be operational by late next summer.

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