By Lawrence Powell
Lawrencetown’s Exhibition Youth Arena will be getting a new ice plant and a permanent concrete floor with embedded piping, thanks to funding from Ottawa, the province, and Annapolis County.
West Nova MP Greg Kerr announced $130,000 on behalf of the federal government during a ceremony held at the rink Friday, Dec. 7. The Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness is chipping in $40,000 towards the project, and the county has put up $20,000. The Youth Arena board of directors will contribute $70,000 for a total of $260,000.
Kerr made the announcement on behalf of Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie).
“Our Government has made infrastructure improvements, such as these ones here in Lawrencetown, a key part of its plan to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for Nova Scotians,” said Kerr. “For nearly 90 years, the Annapolis Valley Exhibition has positioned this community as an agricultural hub here in the Annapolis Valley. This type of investment enhances the quality of life in our communities, while also generating economic activity and jobs.”
The funds will assist with replacing the existing ice plant, making upgrades that will allow the arena to create a permanent concrete floor with embedded piping, creating a drainage system beneath and around the arena, and making improvements to the building’s insulation, increasing energy efficiency.
Provincial Health Minister David Wilson said the arena provides many opportunities for youth in the area to be physically active and involved in their community. “Getting and keeping our young people moving and community-minded is a priority for this government.”
"We are thrilled to see the work being done to improve this facility for visitors and residents of all ages, and particularly for our youth who have enjoyed this arena year after year since the community dreamed it was possible,” said Lynn Roscoe, chair of the Exhibition Youth Arena board. “For more than 40 years, this facility has been serving our extended community and these upgrades work to secure its future and continued success.”
County Councillor Martha Roberts agreed.
“It truly can be considered the hub of this village,” she said. “In the summer it plays host to many components of our famous Annapolis Valley Exhibition,” she said. “And in the winter it is a gathering place for everyone to enjoy skating, hockey, and many programs put on by volunteers.”
Roberts said she is please county council is a partner in the arena upgrades.
“The arena is vital for this region,” Roberts said. “It attracts visitors and reminds local residents how fortunate we are to live in such a community-minded area. This facility encourages community involvement and shows the success that can be achieved when people become involved.”
Roscoe also thanked the Village of Lawrencetown along with other levels of government.
“Each level of government has contributed to the renovation and upgrade of this arena according to their means,” she said. “And this joining with the efforts of the community volunteers is rejuvenating a place that will continue far into the future. Not only does this support our efforts and inspire our children, but it also breathes life into the belief that rural Canada is alive and vibrant with the spirit of her people.”
Several years ago Roscoe and Roberts were among a small group who helped the Lawrencetown Youth Arena achieve national attention as a fourth-place finisher in the CBC Kraft Hockeyville contest. It earn the ‘little rink that could’ a $25,000 prize.