Roy Newcombe admits it was tough keeping his emotions in check as he spoke in his home community of Tyne Valley on Monday morning.
He was one of about 30 people gathered to announce that a new Tyne Valley Events Centre will be built within the next year.
With the sun beaming down on a warm summer morning, the announcement was made in the parking lot of the Tyne Valley Fire Hall, directly across the street from where the new facility will be built – on the site of the old rink that burned to the ground on a cold December day seven months ago.
“To me, this is very special,” said Newcombe, who was one of the seven board of directors who oversaw the construction of the original rink, the Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre, in 1964.
“When I first saw that the rink had burnt, it was devastating. It just took a piece right out of you.”
The loss of the building on Dec. 29, which underwent renovations in the late 1990s, left a big void in the tight-knit West Prince community.
“We got our community back almost, or it feels like we are getting it back,” said Tyne Valley Mayor Jeff Noye. “We are super pumped and excited to move forward.”
Tyne Valley Events Centre details
The New Tyne Valley Events Centre, to be located in the same location as the rink that burned down, will have the following features:
- It will be an energy-efficient building.
- It will have an NHL-sized ice surface.
- There will be five dressing rooms.
- There will be fully accessible washrooms that will feature green fixtures.
- There will be a concession area.
- There will be a fitness centre.
- There will be multiple offices for community groups and event organization.
- There will be 500 seats for ice events, such as hockey and figure skating.
- The capacity for events, such as the Oyster Festival, where spectators can use the ice surface will be 2,000.
- The design will be similar to the Evangeline Recreation Centre and Tignish Credit Union Arena.
- The main entrance for the new building will be at the side of the rink nearest the parking lot.
Sharing the cost
Noye, who noted the Tyne Valley area is comprised of 22 different communities, expects the total cost of the project to be around $10 million. Egmont Member of Parliament Bobby Morrissey announced the federal government will contribute $3,999,791 through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada infrastructure program. P.E.I. Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers said the provincial government will provide $3.3 million while the municipality is providing more than $3.1 million.
“Back in 1964, the old rink would not have been done without the co-operation of the federal and provincial government, and that is no different than today,” said Noye. “We know how big of a project this is.”
Noye said the first of three different phases of tendering went out last week. The first one is the structure and steel, concrete will be the second phase and the third will be finishing the building.
As plans were unveiled, Newcombe admits it brought back a lot of memories.
"We started off with not even a five-cent stamp in our kitty,” said Newcombe, who added the first event in the Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre was a public skate on New Year’s Day 1965. “We applied to the federal government and got a Winter Works Project to go, and through the help of Winter Works and our directors, we (signed bank) notes to keep the thing going.”
Ready for 2021
Construction is expected to start in the fall, and the goal is for the new facility to host the popular Oyster Festival in August 2021.
“We have a great volunteer group of people who will work hard for our community,” said Noye. “There wasn’t one second that I didn’t think this was going to get done because of the people in the community and the trust that the federal and provincial governments had in that.”
The new multi-purpose building will be much more than just a rink. It is designed to provide recreation needs and a meeting place for residents. That is something Newcombe feels will benefit everyone.
“There’s more to these buildings than just an ice surface now,” said Newcombe. “That is great to see because more people can use it.”
Young athletes excited
Seven-year-old figure skater Sarah Enman of Victoria West attended the announcement.
“I want it to be like the old one,” she said. “I think it will be special.”
Sarah, who skated one night a week in Alberton and another in Abram-Village after the fire, is looking forward to skating in the new rink. She said winning ribbons and moving on to new levels are two of her favourite things about figure skating.
Minor hockey player Drew Kelly of Foxley River is excited construction will soon start.
“I feel happy,” said the 12-year-old forward, who added she “felt sad” after learning of December’s fire.
Reece Grigg, an 11-year-old forward, said he is looking forward to bigger dressing rooms.
“I will miss the old one, but I’m sure there will be a lot of new memories in the new one,” said the Tyne Valley native.
- Government of Canada Resources - Coronavirus disease (COVID 19)
- Investing in Canada Plan Project Map
- Federal infrastructure investments on Prince Edward Island
- Investing in Canada: Canada's Long-Term Infrastructure Plan