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Crumbling Baddeck arena to open this winter, but safety precautions required

·1 min read
An image from an engineer's report into the Victoria Highland Civic Centre in Baddeck shows a rusting steel beam. Officials plan to open the rink this winter, but one end will be blocked off. (Submitted by Katie Ross - image credit)
An image from an engineer's report into the Victoria Highland Civic Centre in Baddeck shows a rusting steel beam. Officials plan to open the rink this winter, but one end will be blocked off. (Submitted by Katie Ross - image credit)

Millions of dollars are needed to replace the crumbling arena in Baddeck, N.S., but the facility will still open this winter.

Engineers say the rink is operable, according to John Trickett, chair of the Victoria Highland Civic Centre. But one end will be blocked off to the public and staff will need to keep a close eye on the snow load on the roof.

New building code regulations state no more than 40 centimetres of snow can accumulate on the roof.

"Safety is not negotiable and we will not in any way, shape or form jeopardize that," Trickett told Information Morning Cape Breton. "If it means closing the building, we will close the building."

The arena was built in 1972 and is approaching the end of its useful life, he said.

He said side wall supports, exhaust fans and the clock are rusted and it makes sense to build a new arena and get another 50 years out of it.

The last cost estimate to replace the arena was as high as $14 million, but that was about 18 months ago and doesn't account for inflation.

"That is [and] continues to be a moving target," Trickett said. "It will be north of $14 million, for sure. To what extent, I don't know."

The board hasn't started publicly fundraising yet, but has already received pledges of about $500,000.

It has also received a significant contribution from the local municipality, Trickett said.

"Victoria County unanimously voted to commit $1 million to the project, so that was a great jump-start to go to the next levels of government," he said.

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