New Brunswick

Rothesay moves ahead with own recreation complex

The town of Rothesay will be getting a new arena next year, which will replace the existing arena, built in 1972.

Town will demolish Scott Avenue apartments before it builds new arena and updates existing rink

Rothesay council has agreed in principle to build a new arena and convert its existing rink, built in 1972, to a multi-purpose recreation complex for basketball, volleyball, tennis, indoor soccer and other activities.

The working budget for the project is $13 million, including the new building and renovations.

The new facility will feature an indoor walking track and a full-size ice surface, and will be constructed while the existing arena continues  to operate to avoid scheduling problems on the ice.

In order to make room for the structure, the town plans to demolish two low-income properties on Scott Avenue, which it previously purchased for $1.1 million.

On Monday, residents received notice they will need to leave by April.

Daren Lank, one of the buildings' tenants, has questions about the need for another recreation facility in the Kennebecasis Valley, because the town of Quispamsis already runs a multi-purpose recreation centre known as the Qplex.

"Why build another Qplex when you have one up the road from there? It's craziness is all it is," said Lank.

Rothesay council said it would help all tenants move to new affordable housing in the area, but Lank said he doesn't want to leave.

"I'm gonna stay. That's where I should live the rest of my life — not somebody else telling me I have to move. Just because it's the town of Rothesay, it don't make sense to me."

Construction expected to begin in 2014

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop said the town has outgrown its current arena and is in need of an upgrade.

"The present arena is over 40 years old," he said. "We feel a new arena will satisfy the needs for ice in the near future for the Kennebecasis Valley."

Scott MacLean, a resident of Rothesay, agrees that a new facility is needed. He remembers using the Rothesay Arena as a child.

"It would be nice to have something sort of like the Qplex around here, just because here we have strictly hockey, there's no basketball, no baseball, there's nothing," said MacLean. "We definitely need it for sure."

Construction for the new arena is expected to start next summer and take eight to 10 months to complete. Renovations to the existing building will follow shortly after.

Once the new facility is in operation, the ice-making equipment in the existing building will be removed, a new multi-purpose floor installed, and a series of upgrades started to re-purpose the building. A connecting corridor will be built between the completed buildings.

The town had considered an earlier project with a new field house, running track, fitness facility and a variety of meeting rooms and multi-use spaces but Bishop said the costs were considered excessive with a preliminary estimate of about $25 million.