Council moves forward on Fish arena’s future

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Efforts to find a private group to operate the H.W. Fish Arena in McLennan continue.
Council discussed at its Feb. 14 meeting plans to hold meetings toward gauging interest in the idea from area citizens. The arena has essentially been closed the past two winters doe to high operational costs and little usage.
“We have to figure out what we’re going to do,” said Mayor Jason Doris.
“I think we should put it to a town hall meeting,” suggested Councillor Sue Delaurier.
“I’m all for a society to run it, but we should be firm on what council expects,” she added. “This is what we expect of the society.”
Such an agreement would entail specifics. Council mentioned the Berwyn model seemed to work well and will get a copy of their agreement to guide them as a starting point.
“Ideally, we want to keep it as an arena,” said Doris. “A recreation facility of some kind.”
And, he added, a group did not have to be entirely comprised of town residents, as M.D. of Smoky River residents also use the facility and have an interest.
Council did have some concerns. Councillor Margaret Jacob suggested council should first develop a strategic plan.
“That’s what bothers me,” added Councillor Marie-Anne Jones. “We have no plan.”
Jacob suggested the strategic plan and an agreement with a community group to operate the arena would be a “co-ordinated” plan.
Doris liked the idea of using the Berwyn model.
“We don’t have to re-invent the wheel,” he said.
The proposed town hall meeting will occur after council sets its strategic plan in the next few weeks. After the plan is set, and council has the Berwyn model to guide them, they can be more specific to the public on what they want.
“See if the people are willing to get on board with the society or not,” said Doris.
“[And] if you have any other ideas, let us know,” added Jacob.

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