Arena renovations could start in May

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Petrolia’s arena could have a bright new look by the time summer rolls around.

Officials from the town invited users of the Greenwood Recreation Centre to take a look at the plans it has for the arena recently in an effort to make sure the planned renovations will fit everyone’s needs.

The town will spend about $549,000 – with about $270,000 coming in the form of a grant –  to replace all the boards, glass and netting on the main ice surface.

Dave Menzies, director of community services, says once the new boards are ordered it will take eight weeks to manufacture them. Installers will move into the Greenwood in May and have the boards and glass in place in two weeks time.

It’s his hope the work on the floor will be complete in time for the summer men’s ball hockey league to begin play without any delays.

“It should take two weeks… to rip the boards out and put the new ones in,” he says. That is likely to happen in May. “We’re trying to block that time out and the rest of construction should not affect the users.”

While the arena is in use, Menzies says there will be small pockets of work being done around the arena.

The glass on the mezzanine will be replaced, eliminating the need for netting and giving a better view.

The bench in the lobby in front of the glass will be removed and a new bench with one seat facing the ice and the other facing the snack bar will be added.

Possibly the most difficult task and the one which has caused the most talk, is the removal of the current press box. It was donated by the Petrolia Old Timers league and is suspended above the penalty box.

Announcers and members of press who want to use it have to climb a ladder with no guard rails. Petrolia’s Chief Administrative Officer, Manny Baron, says that is not acceptable under the province’s current accessibility laws.

There are two possibilities to replace the press box, both behind the penalty box. One option has room for a timekeeper, while the other has the timekeeper moved to the penalty box area, giving more room.

Either option would give the users a slightly elevated view with better accessibility.

Baron and Menzies were looking for input on what would be best for the users during an open house March 2.

“We want to make sure we get this right,” Baron told the representatives from Petrolia Minor Hockey, the Petrolia Flyers, the Petrolia Squires, figure skating and the Petrolia Enniskillen Agricultural Society.

Mayor John McCharles reiterated the user groups input is vital to the project. “We want your input, we need your input and we’re open for all kinds of discussion on this,” he says. “We have a great opportunity to make our little arena great and we want to get it right the first time.”

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