East End Community Club is set to extend southward.
The Transcona complex, located at 517 Pandora Ave. E., will add a third sheet of ice to its venue by 2015, Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) announced at a press conference at the centre on Feb. 21. The new rink will be constructed on the south side of the complex on part of the parking lot and along Melrose Ave. E.
The $9-million project will be funded evenly by the city of Winnipeg, the province of Manitoba, and by the club.
In addition to the new rink, the facility will be improved. East End past-president Don Gale explained the arena needs the upgrade, noting the current dressing rooms in the original rink have never been expanded. The centre built its second rink in 1995.
Gale hopes construction will start by the fall, while the rink is expected to be ready for the 2014-15 season.
He said the club is still working to determine how the construction will affect the building’s operations, but stressed the club will remain accessible.
"Construction will have to work around and keep the building operational," he said.
Gale added programs run through East End will not see fee increases because of the project.
Current president Bruce Talling said the club doesn’t have the entire $3-million sum, but has saved a sizable share, and its business plan will allow it to come up with the full amount in time.
"We’ve saved money. We’re pretty frugal," he said. "We run a tournament here. We have a car show."
Mayor Sam Katz helped announce the project, and he has full confidence in the centre.
"You have a group of citizens with a phenomenal track record at the East End Community Centre who have shown great leadership, shown great stability, and came forward in discussions saying ‘We’d like to be part of this’," said Katz. "It’s important we have people in place we know will get the job done."
East End’s arenas are already run by the club, not the city of Winnipeg. The opening of the new rink will allow the city to shut down Roland Michener Arena at 1121 Wabasha St., and Katz feels the club and its board will do a better job running the arena than the city.
In an attempt to move away from old single-rink arenas, the city put out an expression-of-interest in fall 2011. Park City West Community Club put forth a proposal for a single rink and a healthy living centre, but the proposal was rejected last spring.
Wyatt said there are numerous advantages to having multiplexes, as they require fewer total staff and less equipment, like Zambonis, overall. As well, he said it benefits the centre and families.
"If you have a tournament, you often need more than one sheet of ice," said Wyatt. "If you have families where they have children of different ages, they’re playing at different times, but they can be together."