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Icy situation at centre


Dear Editor, Well, it's Aug. 12, my son is half way through a hockey/power skating program at the Gander Community Centre and I've just been told that when this program is over my son will not be permitted to use the new skills until Oct. 20. The ice is coming off at the end of August until ("on or about") Oct. 20. I have just spent a lot of money to get my son into his "groove" and the Town of Gander has left me shaking my head, again ... Who makes these decisions? Are they made unilaterally or unanimously? After reading the Town of Gander council minutes I have determined that it was Kevin Waterman, Wilson Hoffe, Carl Smith and Jake Turner that made the decision. To quote "it was determined that it would not be feasible for the Town to keep the ice down due to the cost associated with the plant and building operations. Furthermore, the number of ice rentals was not sufficient to account for extra expenses."

Letters to the Editor - Dear Editor,

Well, it's Aug. 12, my son is half way through a hockey/power skating program at the Gander Community Centre and I've just been told that when this program is over my son will not be permitted to use the new skills until Oct. 20. The ice is coming off at the end of August until ("on or about") Oct. 20.

I have just spent a lot of money to get my son into his "groove" and the Town of Gander has left me shaking my head, again ... Who makes these decisions? Are they made unilaterally or unanimously? After reading the Town of Gander council minutes I have determined that it was Kevin Waterman, Wilson Hoffe, Carl Smith and Jake Turner that made the decision. To quote "it was determined that it would not be feasible for the Town to keep the ice down due to the cost associated with the plant and building operations. Furthermore, the number of ice rentals was not sufficient to account for extra expenses."

I have been speaking with someone from every use group of "our" ice surface and I have deducted that clearly this decision is not what is best for the whole. Silver Jets was prepared to start the second week of September, per Sherrie Baldwin. Minor Hockey was prepared to start the second week of September, per Ed Beaton. Senior Recreation Hockey was prepared to start. Jack Lee requested two weekends in September. A proposal for a senior hockey team has been submitted, St. Paul's wants ice time. Gander Collegiate wants ice time. Not to mention the private rentals that would start rolling in once the word got out ...and the list goes on. So who doesn't want the ice left on for the season?

I've heard several people wanted the same time slots so now nobody gets any. That is the most preposterous statement I have ever heard. A user group meeting to make some compromises would have solved that issue. I heard it is too expensive to leave the ice on. All these user groups were told they would be charged $150/hour for their ice-time in September and they still agreed. Why is it more expensive to use ice in September then October? So exactly who is it that doesn't want the ice left on? Clearly it is not the users of the ice.

According to the Town of Gander's organizational chart, our Town Council answer to us, the residents of Gander, and I think it's time for us to speak up and be heard.

Last year I was the director of the novice division for Gander Minor Hockey and there were several weeks between January and April that some of those kids only had access to one hour a week of ice-time (due to tournaments on the weekends using up their scheduled slots), but at the same time I know there were grown men in Gander that were getting 10 hours a week of recreational hockey. I think some user groups may be getting preferential treatment, again not in the best interest for the whole. Between Gander Minor Hockey Association and Silver Jets there are roughly 400 kids using this ice, but for some reason they don't take priority.

We could easily use two ice surfaces, but instead we get none. Why do we have a state-of-art ice surface that is not being used to it's potential?

The cost of using this facility should never be a factor, or it should never have been constructed. If this "arena" is needed for more then its ice surface then it is, again, evident that we need another ice surface - a complex that will be used primarily as an ice surface, whether it is for hockey, figure skating, curling, etc...

The existing plant at the Community Center is capable of running several ice surfaces so if it's so expensive to run this state-to-the-art facility why not erect a more economical one for ice only.

For those of you that understand where I'm coming from on this issue, your support would be greatly appreciated. Until such time when a second ice surface can be discussed, I am asking that the Town of Gander recreation committee please reconsider their decision and let our users have their ice-time, now.

Nicole Lanning

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