SOUTH HURON – The Stephen Township Arena has lived to see another day.
While South Huron’s committee of the whole, in a Jan. 25 meeting, recommended the closure of the arena in Huron Park at the end of the season, that recommendation was not adopted by council at its regular meeting Feb. 16.
Instead, council passed a motion moved by Coun. Aaron Neeb to keep the Stephen Arena open. The motion also calls for a full engineering report on the facility as well as the provision for a capital investment program to be incorporated in the 2022 budget for the next 10 years.
Council passed the motion unanimously.
There was an outcry from the public after the Jan. 25 recommendation to close the arena. At that Jan. 25 committee of the whole meeting, it was discussed that the Stephen Arena needs more than $2.3 million in repairs including a new arena floor, a new resurfacer room, new dasher boards, a new arena roof, a new compressor and chiller, new glass, a new ice resurfacer and more.
In addition to not adopting the recommendation to close the arena, South Huron Mayor George Finch rescinded a notice of motion he introduced at the Feb. 1 council meeting that spoke to a potential future sale of the arena. That motion called for the Stephen Arena to remain open until either potential renovations at the South Huron Rec Centre occurred or that there be a “catastrophic or health and safety failure at the facility.”
In order for that motion to be voted on at the Feb. 16 meeting it would have needed a seconder, but Finch rescinded the motion.
While council has decided to keep Stephen Arena open, its current ice season has finished as council decided at the Feb. 1 meeting to remove the ice in light of the province’s “stay at home order.” Chief administrative officer Dan Best confirmed at the Feb. 16 meeting that the Stephen Arena ice has been removed for the season but ice remains at the South Huron Rec Centre in Exeter.