Major changes could be coming to city rinks, curling club

Dave Stewart
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Twinning Simmons, Charlottetown Curling Complex taking over Cody Banks Arena both possibilities

Rob Warren, manager Charlottetown Curling Club, relaxes in the newly renovated club's lounge.

There could be a major reshuffling of rinks in Charlottetown in the next few years.

The possible changes affect the Simmons Sport Centre, Cody Banks Arena and Charlottetown Curling Club. Right now, it's just pure speculation based on some ideas being tossed around. No decisions have been made.

For starters, the curling club is getting a new name today. Once the new sign goes up, it will be known as the Charlottetown Curling Complex, featuring a blend of curling, banquet facilities and a new family restaurant called Callbeck's Bar & Grill, named in memory of long-time bartender Don Callbeck who died suddenly three years ago.

Everything is in the preliminary stage right now but the city has talked about the idea of twinning the Simmons Sport Centre. It would feature two ice surfaces and an indoor pool under one idea.

The curling complex has also considered its options. Warren said one of the ideas they've considered is moving from its current location on Euston Street and taking over the Cody Banks Arena. That's not something the City of Charlottetown has given any thought although it is aware of the club's infrastructure challenges.

Rob Warren, manager and ice maker at the curling complex, says repairs are badly needed in the ice portion of the operation and those changes are likely going to cost in the $1 million area.

The ice plant is almost at the end of its life expectancy and will cost $300,000 to replace. The roof also needs work and that will cost another $200,000 while a new floor is required and that will run $250,000.

Essentially, the city is dealing with lots of aging infrastructure.

Public meetings have already taken place on a new master plan for Simmons. The city awaits a report from the consultants.

"We're awaiting a draft plan, if you will, from the consultant and once he presents that in November we'll have a better idea of what the expected use would be for that (Simmons arena) on a go-forward basis,'' said Sue Fraser, manager of the city's parks and recreation department.

The city also has the Eastern Gateway Plan on its plate, an ambitious long-term project that could involve a new Civic Centre, changes to the CDP, the Island Fertilizer plant and moving the Department of Transportation depot. On top of that, a new waterfront plan is in the works that involves the Charlottetown Yacht Club.

Warren said they talked to the city about options and it seems like taking over Cody Banks might make the most sense but that's pure speculation on the curling club's part at this point.

"It would depend on what kind of deal we could get to fix up (Cody Banks) because it's not, of course, curling ready,'' Warren said. "Would that be a better option than staying here and putting $1 million into the work here? That's the point we're at now. Where do we start aiming our capital investment strategy?''

Warren said regardless of what they decide, something will have to happen within the next five years.

The curling complex just finished $50,000 worth of renovations to the banquet section of the building but 75 per cent of the work can easily be moved if the club should moves to a new location.

Fraser said any decisions on what, if anything, happens to Simmons would hinge on council endorsement and infrastructure cash but Ottawa has promised infrastructure dollars will flow by 2014.

Keep in mind, however, the city is also in the midst of a major water and sewer separation project and wants to develop a new well field in the next few years, which are also priorities for the city with those infrastructure dollars.

Organizations: Cody Banks, Simmons Sport Centre, Civic Centre CDP Department of Highways

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Euston Street, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • How It Is...
    October 25, 2012 - 15:18

    Falcon (Clearly from Sherwood), the City is the one looking at consolidating both rinks into a twin at Simmons' location. If and only IF the city did this, and the CITY decided to do away with Cody Banks, then the curling club would look at moving to that location. On the curling club side, it's not a city facility and wouldn't become one, so a new club wouldn't cost the taxpayers...

  • Mike
    October 25, 2012 - 14:52

    Wants and needs people.Everyone would like to see upgrades to the rinks,but we need new water access now.Water is where the city should be spending our money,it is desperately needed.

  • TFM
    October 25, 2012 - 12:00

    It would be REALLY nice to have a non-hockey rink available for general public skating and skating lessons. I suspect there is a vast part of the skate-loving public underserved by the limited non-hocky ice time available. Hockey has a much more limited participation rate than general skating. More people would come out to skate more often if there were more time options. This is especially important as the population increases in heft and/or ages out of team sports. Suggestion: see what other cities have done in this regard, e.g., City of Waterloo.

  • taxpayer
    October 25, 2012 - 11:45

    Just where is the money for all these ribbon cutting adventures going to come from? We are a small city in a small province that is dependent on the dwindling seasonal resource industries of agriculture, fisheries & tourism. I pay more tax on a $150,000 assessed house in Charlottetown than my cousin in Toronto who has a $1.3 million assessed house. She gets far more services for that smaller tax burden than I do. Charlottetown needs to start living within their means and that means chopping out the middle management at city hall, reducing the number of self-serving councillors, cutting capital and salary expenditures alike, put in traffic signal synchronization, and focus on core services. Oh yeah, and reduce our property taxes while you are at it. Get it council? We are not impressed with one thing you have done lately.

  • Sherwood Resident
    October 25, 2012 - 09:42

    I do emphasize with the Curling club, and would normally welcome a curling rink in our neighborhood. However, not at the expense of losing the Cody Banks area. The Cody Banks arena has been serving the residents of Sherwood/Parkdale ( and surrounding communities) for generations. The city of Charlottetown has done a wonderful job with maintaining the facility so it can continue to serve the neighborhood in a number of facets. I can appreciate the fiscal challenges of operating these facilities, and how a consultant’s report would highlight “twinning” a facility makes economic sense. Nevertheless the City Council must look at the bigger picture, the idea of consolidating community facilities to the city core will not serve the outlying residents. Removing Cody Banks arena from the hundreds of families that use this community facility on a weekly basis, and forcing them to the city core is a bad idea. This thought process only compounds the feeling of outlying residents that City Council is challenged with serving the entire population of the City of Charlottetown. City Council must appreciate the importance of having vibrant neighborhoods inside the city, keeping the Cody Banks facility as a community arena would be a clear message that Council understand the entire city population

  • falcon
    October 25, 2012 - 01:10

    Dont touch cody banks, hockey is a much bigger sport than curling. get right out