The Town of Vermilion’s Facility Enhancement Committee hosted a ‘Think Ice Plant’ meeting at the Vermilion Regional Centre on August 28.
The current one has been in place since 1962, and the new one is expected to come with a $2 million price tag. The Town has committed $500,000 towards the project, and the committee has raised an additional $64,000. Committee chair, Kevin Martin, noted that the County of Vermilion River contributed $50,000 of those through a grant.
Over 100 people attended the event, and some were skeptical about process. CAO George Rogers was the moderator and welcomed everyone.
“We wanted to host this meeting to inform people about what is happening and avoid misinformation, as well as collectively identify some of the opportunities to raise funds. I am really happy and overwhelmed with the response of everyone coming. It shows how critical this building is to our community; it is the heartbeat of our community. We have faced challenges like this before and people have come together and stepped up to fulfill a vision, ensuring that our children can grow up having the same opportunities to play hockey or participate in skating or curling as we did,” said Mayor Caroline McAuley.
The town is looking at purchasing a used condenser for approximately $70,000 that is expected to extend the life of the current ice plant for two years. Installing it will delay the season schedule for one week, but the committee feels it will buy them time to fundraise for the new plant.
It was mentioned that the town has already invested over $2 million into the building for roofing, paving, new dressing rooms, and lighting in the curling rink.
“Safety is vital in an operating facility like this,” said Rogers who noted the work space difference between the current one from 1962 and modern ones in neighbouring communities.
Attendees gathered in groups discussing possible solutions, partnerships and ideas for fundraising. Several service groups and agencies from the area were represented and a spokesperson from each group later shared them aloud.