Three Rivers arena getting green upgrades, electric Zamboni for 2023 Canada Games

·2 min read

MONTAGUE – The Cavendish Farms Wellness Centre will be receiving several upgrades ahead of its 2023 Canada Games events, some of which emphasize sustainable energy.

The upgrades include adding a solar-charged ice resurfacer made by Zamboni and replacing the light fixtures with LED lights. For infrastructure, about 46 aging spectator seats in the upper seating area will be replaced, and the arena's sound system will be modified.

"Our main concern was the Zamboni," arena manager Greg MacLaren said. "We're getting to 11 years old, and it's time to start looking for a new one. And we're looking to go electric this time instead of propane."

Upgrade details were shared on behalf of the federal and provincial governments, as well as the region's municipal government, during an internet livestream on Feb. 3. The Montague arena will be hosting ringette competitions during the Games, and all three governments are providing up to about $303,000 for the upgrades.

"It'll be good for the whole area," MacLaren said.

Three Rivers had already announced the provincial and federal funding during an October 2020 council meeting. Mayor Edward MacAulay is hopeful the upgrades will benefit all the communities across Three Rivers – not just Montague.

"People will have more variety and more options," he said, "at a time when we need work in the area (and) we need people coming into the area."

The 11-year-old arena already has a solar farm that Three Rivers had installed in 2019.

"The green component is going to save dollars down the road," MacAulay said.

Transportation Minister Steven Myers was pleased to see the funding go toward green initiatives. While P.E.I.'s under-construction arenas are focusing on this as well, upgrades to the Wellness Centre will likely stand out among existing arenas.

"I would say this would be close to the top to date when it comes to lowering the carbon footprint," he said.

The electric Zamboni would likely be powered similarly to an electric car, he said.

"To my knowledge, it would be the first one in Prince Edward Island."

Myers expects that more funding announcements will be made in the coming months regarding other P.E.I. facilities hosting the Canada Games. Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay said that hosting the Canada Games has always been good for P.E.I.'s infrastructure.

"Over the years, we've taken advantage of these Games and put facilities in place that help Islanders live a more healthy life after the Games are over," he said.

Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian