Repurposing Of Erickson And Bothwell Arenas Passed, Ice Will Be Removed From Both
Chatham-Kent council had significant discussion Monday night regarding the removal of ice, and repurposing of Erickson Arena and Bothwell Arena.
When the final vote was tallied, the repurposing of Erickson Arena was passed with 82% support, while the repurposing and removal of ice from Bothwell Arena was a narrower margin, passing with 53% support from council.
Concerns were raised by many about the need for consultation with user groups, and a break down of the proposed savings.
According to the information heard, all of Chatham-Kent’s ice usage needs can currently be satisfied by 6 of the Municipality’s current 10 arenas.
One concern brought up by Councillor Amy Finn was the potential impact of opening up Municipal space for indoor sports on other businesses and organizations such as the WISH Centre, YMCA, and St. Clair College, will now be competing with the Municipality for rentals.
“I’ve talked to some of the user groups, they look at the WISH Centre, YMCA, and St. Clair College, and the feeling from all of these groups is they could use more capacity within their group,” said Thomas Kelly, Chatham-Kent’s general manager of infrastructure and engineering services.
“We’re also looking at expanding that to other sports like indoor soccer,” he added.
The belief, according to Kelly, is that many of the snowbirds who would typically travel South will be looking for activities while staying in Chatham-Kent this winter.
Councillor Brock McGregor called the move a chance to increase opportunities for people in Chatham-Kent, including athletic clubs. He stated that the community should see this as a positive, and an opportunity for new activities this winter.
Regardless of opinion on the matter, the ice will soon be coming out of Erickson Arena and Bothwell Arena until at least the Fall of 2021.