Coun. Jim Ivey said during the Town of Windsor’s committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 12 that he’d like council to consider extending its ice contract with the Windsor Agricultural Society while the new arena continues to be discussed.
“In the last week I had maybe half a dozen people ask us about our current status,” Ivey said. “We’re at a spot now where I think, with the project currently in place, that we won’t see new ice here a year from now.”
In 2015, the prior town council gave notice they would terminate the contract as of April 2018.
“I put this out for discussion, that we may want to revisit this because just over six months from now we would be removing ice and our equipment (from the arena),” he added.
Ivey said he’s concerned for the children and parents that rely on the Hants Exhibition Arena for ice time.
Coun. Shelley Bibby said she had similar concerns.
“I know that there hasn’t always been the best relationship (between Windsor town council and the Windsor Agricultural Society) but for the kids, I think we have to try to do something,” Bibby said.
VanEssa Roberts, director of community development, tourism and recreation for the town, said the ice plant would need some major upgrades to keep going.
“For the past year and a bit, we’ve been squeaking by… the team out there are very good at doing Band-Aids,” Roberts said. “If we are going into an additional season or longer, we should probably look at doing an overhaul to the ice plant itself.”
Roberts said the compressors have exceeded their lifespan and she estimated that an overhaul could cost approximately $18,000.
Chief administrative officer Louis Coutinho said he would write a staff report to present to Windsor council during their Sept. 26 meeting.
Society open to negotiating
David Coombes, the manager of the Hants County Exhibition, said he would be open to negotiating with the town, but it would need to be done quickly.
“We would have to know soon because we’re going to have to negotiate agreements with people for use next winter and we’re looking at that now,” Coombes said. “We don’t have anything signed, but in the fall of 2018 we’ve got to have another use there.”
Coombes said the Windsor Agriculture Society has been providing the building for ice for decades and said some people are blaming them for the closure next season, which he says is not true.
“I can’t speak for the board, but I would say if they come to us fairly soon, fall of this year before we sign any agreements with anybody else, it would be considered,” he said. “It would be a shame not to have ice.”
Coombes also said the ice plant would need some maintenance to keep it going for an extra season or two.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story said In 2016, the prior town council gave notice they would terminate the contract as of April 2018. It was actually 2015. We regret the error.