Central Manitoulin opening both arenas and ice oval for 2022-23 season

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CENTRAL MANITOULIN—The municipality of Central Manitoulin is planning to create artificial ice in the Providence Bay arena “at the earliest time possible” (October 29) and to proceed to install the same in the Mindemoya Arena as soon as the ice plant repairs have been completed. Further, council has authorized the installation of an outdoor ice oval at the Providence Bay grounds, provided volunteer groups commit to lead the initiative and 100 percent of the hours necessary to maintain the ice oval for the season.

The original motion, coming from the Property Committee, had sought volunteer commitment “to lead the initiative and increase their hours to be able to install, operate and maintain it for the season.” It was noted that last year’s ice oval had consumed considerable staff time and effort.

Councillor Dale Scott voiced concerns over the vague language contained in the original motion, noting that there was no definitive definition of what constituted an increase in volunteer hours. Councillor Scott assured everyone that he was willing to step up as a volunteer himself.

“To my understanding, it took 146 hours last year, the motion doesn’t indicate how much the volunteers would increase their efforts, it could mean a half-hour,” he said.

CAO Ruth Frawley assured council that the volunteers who have stepped forward, two out of three, are former town employees and have the experience and training necessary to safely handle the equipment involved. At most, she said, volunteers might need a minor tune up. Some could require they get their propane handling certificates.

Councillor Dale Scott noted that Providence Bay has a strong cadre of competent volunteers and he was confident they would be able to handle the project, a position Mayor Richard Stephens said he agreed with.

The final motion on the arenas read: “Now therefore we approve that staff be directed to install artificial ice at Providence Bay Arena at the earliest time possible (October 29) and that artificial ice remain installed for the remainder of the 2022/2023 season, and further that staff be directed to install artificial ice at the Mindemoya Arena as soon as they are able to do so.”

A separate motion dealing with the ice oval read: “That council approves the installation of an outdoor ice oval at Providence Bay Arena grounds provided that the volunteer groups commitment to lead the initiative and commit to 100 percent of the necessary hours to be able to install, operate and maintain it for the season, and further the volunteers call on maintenance staff if they need advice and help.”

Both motions passed without opposition.