PEI

Work on North Rustico arena to begin next month

Work will soon begin on a new $10 million rink and wellness centre in North Rustico, P.E.I., but more funding is still needed.

'The rink, like the church and the school, brings people together'

The new rink and wellness centre will include a gym, walking track, kitchen and an Olympic-size ice surface. (Laura Meader/CBC News)

Work will soon begin on a $10 million rink and wellness centre in North Rustico, P.E.I., but funding is still needed. 

According to those involved in the project, building plans are mostly finalized and site work should begin next month. 

"The rink, like the church and the school, brings people together," said Mary Jane Ready, the co-ordinator of the rink fundraising campaign.

"It's really important to see when something's worn out, it's done its job and it's time for a new one."

Funding needed

Federal and provincial governments are providing about $7 million for the project. But North Rustico and nearby communities must raise $3 million.

Ready said that's "a challenge, but it's doable, it's completely doable."

"People have big pockets when it's time for something they believe in." 

'This will bring us up to date, to modernize, to have a facility that you're proud of,' says Mary Jane Ready. (Laura Meader/ CBC News)

Ready said this will act as more than just a hockey rink. Instead, she called it a community hub where people can gather and events can take place. 

It will have two levels, an elevator, gym, walking track, kitchen, meeting rooms and an Olympic-size ice surface.

"We're really excited," said Heather McKenna, the mayor of North Rustico.

"Ourselves and the 13 communities." 

'It will happen'

The new arena will be located directly beside the old rink, which is almost 50 years old.

"This is a tired old building that's run its course and it's served very well and there's wonderful stories about it. However, you're just putting Band-Aids on things now," Ready said.

"With a new one comes new opportunities, so that has me excited." 

'It's very important, to the children, to everyone really,' says North Rustico Mayor Heather McKenna. (Laura Meader/CBC News)

McKenna said the plan is for it to be used as a venue during the 2023 Canada Games. For one week it will become a speed skating rink. For the next, it will be used for the Special Olympics.

"It's very important, to the children, to everyone really," said McKenna. 

"It will happen and we will raise the money that we need."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Laura Meader

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