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(Posted 9 a.m., April 10)
Residents get first look at Blackburn Arena renovation plans

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

The future of the Blackburn Arena is looking bright and rosy, especially for those who have experienced the rink in the winter months.

With a proposed major in the works, the arena will be scratched off the unofficial list of the coldest rinks in Ottawa to either play or watch a game during the winter.

Residents were able to get their first look at the renovation and expansion plans at a recent public meeting hosted by Innes Ward Coun. Jody Mitic.

Since it first opened in 1974, the rink has been the home of the Blackburn Minor Hockey Association, various Gloucester Cumberland ringette teams, figure and public skating, and a long list of old-timers leagues.

“I’m really excited to announce that this project has gone from not happening to reality,” Mitic told the residents at the meeting.

When he was first elected to city council in October 2014, a large part of
the capital budget for the following year had already been alloted. So Mitic set his sights on the future and managed to get the money for a design study in this year’s budget.

The city has also set aside $1 million for the $3 million project, with the provincial and federal governments expected to split the balance as part of its infrastructure funding initiatives.

“The Mayor and my colleagues came through with $1 million. All we need now is the federal and provincial governments to come to the table with the balance,” says Mitic, adding that he hopes to see construction begin in the next year or so.

“The rink is close to 45 years old and needs work. You can giggle about the fact it is one of the coldest rinks in the city but it’s time to get serious about the facility, bring it up to standard and make it more accessible for people with disabilities.”

An expanded Blackburn Arena will include full-size players’ dressing rooms, two alternate needs rooms, a much larger lobby and a new entrance vestibule.

The project also includes refurbishing the existing dressing rooms, along with the addition of a multi-purpose room, and a universal washroom.

Modifications to the parking lot are proposed to accommodate the building’s expansion.

For more info go to: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/public-engagement/parks-and-recreation-public-consultations#.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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