Like many in the Trinity Bay community, they’re anxious to find out when they can lace up their skates and give the new outdoor rink a whirl.
Members of the Old Perlican Recreation Arena Committee will be happy to get a few weeks of skating this winter. Ultimately, they’re amazed to be so far along with the project only two years removed from forming the committee.
“When we started out with this, we forecasted to get where we are here now on a four-year plan,” explained Cliff Morgan, one of the committee members. “We’ve done it in two years.”
An outdoor rink is far from a foreign concept when it comes to the community’s past. But none of those will touch what the new one — located next to the John Hoskins Community Centre — has to offer.
It’s a 155-feet by 75-feet playing surface.
“These kids down here have nothing,” committee member Darren Noonan told The Compass last week. “We had a little pond in there we used to skate on, but when we decided to go to council, there were 52 kids on a pond about a quarter the size of this.”
Noonan and fellow resident Corey Squires met with council, and from that meeting the committee was born.
According to Morgan’s estimate, approximately $150,000 has gone into creating the rink. A lot of that work wouldn’t necessarily be visible. Excavators dug five feet below the surface and replaced the fill with blasted rock and shale.
“We built it up in layers so, hopefully, the foundation is good,” said committee member Chad Payne.
The Town of Old Perlican donated the land, and with Harbour Grace opening its new arena last fall, boards at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium were no longer needed. The committee made a pitch to the town, with council agreeing in September to sell the boards for $10,000.
The committee has pulled its weight with fundraising, staging all sorts of events. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency also helped out in a big way, pitching in $60,000.
“We’ve gotten as much support in Bay de Verde as we got in Old Perlican,” Noonan noted.
Payne reckons the rink will do wonders for children in Bay de Verde and the surrounding communities. Noonan has a child enrolled in minor hockey, and he can see an obvious benefit to having a rink in Old Perlican as far as extra ice time goes. It takes about an hour to drive to the stadium in Harbour Grace.
“I know the commitment it takes to leave Old Perlican and go to Harbour Grace and play a hour of hockey, be back home and the next day, go up again,” he said. “Not everyone can do it; the kids here deserve to be able to skate like this as much as the crowd in Harbour Grace.”
Beyond the winter, the committee hopes to see the rink used for ball hockey, community events and as a walking space for seniors.
There’s even a long-term goal to one day enclose the rink and obtain a freezing system. With that, the committee reckons it could maintain an ice surface for up to six months.
“With the weather in Old Perlican and the Avalon so unpredictable, with a shelter you would get a lot more out of it,” said Payne. “A mild day, the ice wouldn’t melt so fast. Freezing rain won’t stick to it.”
Old Perlican Recreation Committee