It’s the topic of many local conversations.
Suggestions abound, ranging from keeping it open as a rink to take advantage of an ice shortage next season, to razing it and converting the area to a green space, or renting out the building to other user groups.
While the ice is gone, there is still hockey action in the arena as it hosts both women and youth ball hockey during the evening on weeknights. The Millbrook Arena normally remains closed during weekdays and evenings in the summer months when there are no rentals booked, and the intention was to close down the facility at the end of the floor hockey season until a decision was made about its future.
Over the last few months, staff has heard from a number of local user groups. Peterborough Minor Lacrosse showed interest in developing and using the Millbrook Arena in the winter months for indoor soccer and for tryouts, practices, and skills school. While the lacrosse organization didn’t have a preference with regards to the type of playing surface, soccer indicated that they would require a turf surface as well as an indoor temperature in the 15-18 degree C range.
The most serious expression of interest came from Maple Leaf Cavan Football Club (MLCFC), whose President submitted a series of documents outlining a proposal to convert the facility to a Field House, equipped with an artificial turf floor. This conversion would also require insulation on the walls and ceiling, with an anticipated conversion cost approaching $400000- $500,000. In addition the facility would incur ongoing operating costs for electricity, water, maintenance, and staff. To offset this, MLCFC proposed a 5-year commitment to the facility with revenues ranging from $30,240 to $47,040 per year.
A 2011 feasibility study conducted as part of the Downtown Millbrook Revitalization Strategy suggested that further public engagement should be done before making a decision about the site. Funding is available for applied research and analysis to support planning and priority setting for which this type of project may be eligible.
Council agreed to wait until the fall before moving forward with further research regarding the facility to see if funding for such a study will become available through the province.
In the meantime, Recreation staff is focused on ensuring the new Community Centre is ready for its much-anticipated opening in August. KG