Nova Scotia

Community makes last-ditch appeal for rink funding

People who live in northern Cape Breton say a new community fund from Ottawa is their last hope of getting money to fix up their rink.

People who live in northern Cape Breton say a new community fund from Ottawa is their last hope of getting money to fix up their rink.

The Northern Victoria Community Centre in Cape North serves all of the surrounding communities. But children from the area who play hockey often have to travel 70 kilometres to the nearest rink in Cheticamp. That's because the rink in Cape North has a natural ice surface, so it can be used only when the weather allows.

The rink needs an extension to house ice-making equipment the community received from Berwick two years ago. But in the time the comunity has been trying to get the extension built, the ice-making equipment has been sitting idle, corroding. Soon it might have to be thrown out.

Geena MacDonald of South Harbour said everyone in northern Cape Breton depends on the rink for recreation.

"It's very important to get it done because it's not fair to all the young people here because they have to travel to Cheticamp just to learn how to skate," she said.

The committe overseeing the project has been turned down for funding a number of times in the past, said committee member Duncan MacKinnon. He said they are becoming quite demoralized by government rejections.

"They're going on with their 'promote healthy living and physical activity' for kids in rural areas and rural communities. I mean, what's wrong with ours?" he said. "They put a skating oval in Halifax. I'm sure they could finish the rink here."

MacKinnon said the Community Centres Program, available through Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, is their last hope.

"This is it. We've been three decades of different people — everyone in this community pretty well has been on the board, trying to fight for it," he said. "You get tired after a while."

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