Nova Scotia

Dartmouth, Bedford arenas to stay open

Halifax council has dropped plans to keep some city arenas closed during the pre-season after parents and players protested.

HRM reverses plans after parents, players protest

Sean McKenna had said the move would be costly to parents. (CBC)

Halifax council has dropped plans to close some city arenas during the pre-season after parents and players protested.

As reported by CBC News, some Dartmouth parents were angry with a proposal to keep both the Gray and Bowles arenas closed until Oct. 1, rather than the usual Sept. 1 opening.

The Dartmouth Whalers Minor Hockey Association recently held a family skate and rally to protest against the proposal.

Halifax Regional Municipality scrapped the plans Thursday afternoon.

"Three HRM ice surfaces that had been previously scheduled to close during the upcoming pre-season ice period will now be staying open," Karen MacTavish, general manager of recreation service, said in a media release.

"After consultation with HRM councillors and both user groups of the facilities, HRM Community and Recreation Services made the decision to leave all three arenas open this season and are investigating ways to realize alternate cost efficiencies in other operational areas."

HRM staff had made the recommendation to save the city money.

The closure would have forced tryouts and conditioning camps for the Whalers league to the four-pad facility in Bedford. It would also have affected recreational users and figure-skating groups.

Sean McKenna, the vice-president of the Dartmouth Whalers Minor Hockey Association, estimated it would have cost them about $90,000. They calculated that figure by adding the more expensive ice time at the four pad to the extra gas and time used by coaches and families to get to Bedford.

The parents took their complaints to city council. They also posted a video of the rally to YouTube with kids shouting "We love Bowles and Gray/Open up and let us play."

HRM said it is developing a long-term strategy for handling the city's ice surface availability in the coming years. The strategy should be ready in June.