Hockey prez launches petition supporting council decision 0
COLLINGWOOD — The president of Collingwood's minor hockey association has created a petition supporting town council's decision on recreational facilities.
Jason Henry launched his petition, Thursday, in response to a petition critical of council's decision on Aug. 27 to spend $10.6 million to build an architectural membrane structure over Centennial Pool, and a similar structure over a new ice rink at Central Park.
That decision has since run into opposition from people concerned about the process, given council's decision to sole-source the buildings from Calgary-based Sprung Structures, and the 10-month public consultation by the Central Park Steering Committee that a community group known as the Friends of Central Park say has been ignored.
Henry's petition can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/support-collingwood-council-on-recreation/
While he acknowledges his position as minor hockey president, Henry says the petition reflects his personal viewpoint.
"We all want to do it right, but can we afford it?" questioned Henry, referring to the $35-million proposal presented earlier this year by the Central Park Steering Committee. "I don't know much about process, but as to the urgency for ice, we need it.
"I give credit to council for actually making a decision, and going forward," he said. "It's been needed in this town for 25 years."
Henry noted some user groups — notably girls' hockey — are being neglected because there is not enough ice time in Collingwood. The local minor hockey association also rents time at the rink in Feversham so teams can get on the ice.
"There are many people who are being displaced because we don't have the ice time," he said.
The structure at Central Park is intended to be a year-round arena; the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena would become a seasonal facility, operating as an ice rink only during the winter months.
The town plans on putting more than $3.5 million in upgrades into the 65-year-old building, including replacing the concrete floor, which was removed about 20 years ago in favour of a sand floor. An application has been made to a federal grant program to recoup up to $1 million of those costs.
"(The Central Park rink) will be an actual arena, and we have a viable option for covering the pool," said Henry.