Town of Gore Bay to keep arena open, ice in, for the time being

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MINDEMOYA – Gore Bay town council agrees that the local arena will remain open for now, but will review this again in the near future.

At a meeting last week council had agreed in principle to keeping the arena open and the ice in and look at continuing this until later in March, all contingent on the lockdown being ceased. 

However, Mayor Dan Osborne told the Recorder Wednesday, “we did a survey of the councillors and we have agreed we are not going to shut down the arena at this point, but will review this again next week.” 

It was pointed out the Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association (MMHA) would like arenas to stay open later in the season, if it is possible, and that Assiginack township is looking to keep their arena and ice in later in the year.  

Mike Zegil, president of the MMHA told the Recorder on Tuesday, the league “is in a holding pattern and are waiting to see what the province and municipalities do. The MMHA is hoping that as of about February 11 the current provincial restrictions will be lifted and whichever community has ice we will finish the minor hockey season with whatever teams are left, but we understand the predicament municipalities are in and we will work with them. And we understand that if the province, for example, extends the lockdown or the weather gets warmer, that’s it.” 

“We will remain flexible and hope that possibly good things will happen,” Mr. Zegil added. 

At a meeting last week Central Manitoulin council considered a recommendation motion from its property committee to council to shut down the Providence Bay arena and equipment and close it for the remainder of the season due to reduced use caused by COVID-19 restrictions. The Mindemoya arena would remain open.

“I was just going to say we all need to understand that it would just be the ice taken out, we would not be shutting the arena, it can still be used once the once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted,” said Councillor Angela Johnston. 

Councillor Derek Stephens pointed out, “the only reason to keep the Mindemoya arena ice in is that minor hockey may continue their season after February.”

Council agreed the Providence Bay arena will be shut down and a decision on the Mindemoya arena will be considered in February. 

In the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, the ice is out as of this week.