Community Arenas need Financial Support from Province to help with COVID-19 costs

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The Municipality of Pictou County wants the provincial government to offer financial assistance to community rinks struggling during this pandemic.

District 10 Coun. Randy Palmer supported a motion during Monday’s October Council Meeting which calls for the Nova Scotia Government to bring forward a program of support to help community rinks survive the 2020-2021 season.

Coun. Palmer said the Ivor MacDonald Memorial Arena in Thorburn is an example of a small community arena that is expected to purchase extra cleaning supplies and hire extra staff this season to clean the facility regularly to ensure COVID-19 is not present.

He said the Ivor MacDonald Memorial Arena shut down in mid-March when COVID-19 hit Nova Scotia so it didn’t lose any revenue from last season because of the pandemic, but additional cleaning expenses coupled with the fact that there is no guarantee the arena will take in the same amount of ice rentals as in previous years leaves it with a lot of uncertainty this season.

“It is an unknown,” Coun. Palmer said. “We are just looking for basic help.”

Palmer said arenas currently do not meet the qualifications for current government funding, so it is asking the provincial government for specific financial assistance.

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District 3 Coun. Darla MacKeil echoed Coun. Palmer’s comments by saying the Hector Arena in Pictou is also potentially looking at less income and more expenses this season.

“Community rinks really do provide a health aspect to our communities and it's important the provincial government provides the support they need to get through this,” she said.

“It is critical to keep these hubs in our communities open.”
Council agreed to send its resolution to the provincial government, local MLAs as well as other municipalities for support.

Both the Ivor MacDonald Memorial Arena and the Hector Arena are developing re-opening plans and expect to have ice in their facilities by the end of October/early November.