Take a sighting down the length of the boards around the edge of the indoor rink at the River Heights Arena, and you can see the uneven course they take, rising up and down in waves.
The 30 year-old dasher boards have moved so much they are a safety hazard, according to the Corydon Community Centre staff and board members. This has prompted a plan to replace the boards to keep the facility open for hockey, ringette, speed skating, learn to skate, family skating and other programs that make heavy use of the arena.
"Those boards have been moving for the past 20 years with the permafrost," said Abbie Bajon, general manager of the Corydon Community Centre, which oversees the operation of the River Heights Arena. "This past winter, we only allowed the younger kids to use the arena due to the safety issue."
Board member Paul Krestanowich, who grew up skating at the community centre and who has four teenagers who play sports there, said the indoor rink is the crown jewel of the facility.
"We want to see the hockey teams come back. We’ve had a number of home-grown players that went on to the National Hockey League. The arena is home to the Kelvin hockey team, to the River Heights speed skating club and the Corydon Comets," he said. "The building is impressive and beautiful with the old timbers along the roof. The building itself is fine, but the boards need to be replaced."
The plan is to rip out the old boards, dig down and put a screw pile system with a stable grade beam on top for the new boards to sit on, according to the application made to the city. The project received a $100,000 community incentive grant from the City Centre community committee on May 4.
"We’re hoping to get funding in place to get going on the project this summer, and complete it by this September," Bajon said, adding proper boards would see the safety glass extended up to eight or 12 feet.
The community centre will use just over $200,000 from their reserve fund for the project, along with $50,000 from another grant source. In total, that comes to just under $370,000 for the project, which falls short of what Bajon estimates will be required.
"The project will cost around $500,000, although we know that the cost of materials has gone up since we got our initial quotes on the work and the new boards," she said, adding the community centre has applied for grants from Red River Mutual’s Spruce Up Your Story initiative to renovate community facilities.
There are plans to launch a community fundraiser, according to Krestanowich. "We have a committee set up that will put the word out on social media, and a moms’ committee, because we know they get things done," he said. "They’ll knock this out of the park."
The original building was built by funds raised in the community, he added. "In the 1960s, people went door to door, asking for donations. Others put their names on personal bank notes to ensure it would be built," he said. "This time around, we’ll take $5, $10 from those who can afford that, and we’ll be doing much bigger asks from those who can afford more."
In previous years, the arena saw upgrades to the dressing rooms and the lights, Bajon said. This past winter’s pandemic protocols meant the community centre staff split the ice into two zones for teams to practise on and assigned them to side-specific dressing rooms and washrooms.
"It was a lot of work," she said, adding the facility is currently closed to the public with the exception of the daycare. "We had to bring in extra staff to use a fogger on the bleachers and equipment. We wanted to make our facility as safe as possible, and our staff did a fantastic job."
For more, see https://corydoncc.com/