The McLennan Parks and Recreation Board and the Town of McLennan are asking for community input in deciding on how to proceed with H.W. Fish Arena, as the future of the facility is in doubt.
Among the key factors in considering the future of the arena is the continued annual deficit to the Town of McLennan, the age of the structure and the many repairs and upgrades needed to maintain the facility.
Since its construction in 1971, the H.W. Fish Arena has undergone a number of upgrades over the years, first in the 1980s, again in 1995 and most recently in 2017 when the dressing rooms were fitted with refurbished washrooms and new sinks, new cubicle dividers, new flooring in the showers and T-bar ceilings with florescent lights.
New T-5 LED lighting, a more durable system that provides greater luminosity and greater energy efficiency were installed above the ice and the installation of new lights in the lobby were also included in the 2017 refurbishment project.
That refurbishment project was made possible by a $36,275 grant obtained by the McLennan Recreation Board through a Provincial Government “Community Facility Enhancement Program” (CFEP).
The Recreation Board also made a direct contribution of $5,800, the Town of McLennan provided $10,090 and the remaining funds of $9,200 from the McLennan Minor Hockey Association also went towards the project for a total estimated cost of $61,365.
Along with the expense of maintaining the arena, there are also matters such as the declin in usage:
Combined with lower population, minor hockey teams are on the decline in the Smoky River Area, there is no North Peace Hockey League team using the facility, less recreational hockey and no figure skating.
“We are hoping that by hosting a, ‘Community Talks,’ meeting we can all discuss our opinions, actions and the future of our arena,” says McLennan Parks and Recreation board president, Marie Anne Jones.
“It really is all up to our community, how badly do we want our arena, or if we do want the arena?”
The question the McLennan Parks and Recreation Board poses to McLennan residents is whether usage can be increased and is the community prepared to take action and help fundraise to maintain this facility.
The McLennan Parks and Recreation Board, and the Town of McLennan have expressed a great sense of pride in having the longstanding H.W Fish Arena in their community.
“It is our heart, it is our love of the game and it is in essence our community,” says Jones. “We need the communities help, its feedback and its commitment. It’s that simple.”
The ‘Community Talks,’ meeting takes place at 7pm on Wednesday, January 23 at the Rec Room upstairs at the H.W. Fish Arena.