In two weeks the citizens of Vernon will vote on a referendum to borrow funds to build a new ice surface.
Is there a need to replace the old Civic Arena?
This arena was built in 1938, a time when money was tight as the country was still reeling from economic woe – The Great Depression (1929-1939).
It was a showcase of the future with the first artificial ice surface in the Interior. For 77 years it served the citizens of Vernon well.
Today, according to the consultants, the building has deteriorated beyond repair.
The taxpayer could continue to pour money into an old facility with no guarantee the repairs will last. For many citizens, the Civic holds many memorable times of the past.
It was built to serve a generation who are now in their senior years. That population may not see the benefit of building a new rink. They may no longer participate in those activities.
As a senior I enjoyed skating until my aging infrastructure started to break down.
But being a senior is no reason to deny the younger generations of the community the need of this facility.
What is the community left with if the ice plant at the Civic Arena fails? There are two other community ice surfaces.
Priest Valley has a small ice surface. The main user groups include figure skating, ringette, hockey and speed skating.
Kal Tire Place, Vernon’s primary ice rink and event centre is the home of the Vipers Junior Hockey team.
It has various user groups such as public skating, hockey, and lacrosse. Where do those users of the Civic Arena, Vernon Minor Hockey League, go when it is no longer operational?
They would need to find another venue or drop the activity.
These are not elitist kids. They are young boys and girls participating in a sport they enjoy. Some may have dreams of playing in the big leagues. For the majority playing a sport will teach them valuable life skills and keep them active.
We were the future seven decades ago. Now there’s a new generation that will benefit from our decision to move forward.
A new arena built to current building code will be more efficient. It will provide a safer environment for everyone using the facility.
Perhaps there may even be a few with grey hair that might still be able to cut a fine edge on that new ice sheet.
Vote yes on November 28.