PMD Arena expansion celebrated

When it comes to getting new dressing rooms, residents of Mapleton Township were ready to pull out the red carpet … at least for the grand opening.

Public Works director Larry Lynch welcomed those in attendance to the reopening of the PMD Arena on Sept. 19.

For those who’d already taken the tour of the expanded facility, Lynch said “they probably haven’t seen any better dressing rooms than here in the township.”

He added he is proud of the work of the arena staff in helping to make the addition possible and in sprucing up the rest of the facility.

“It was a job well done, and I think you’ll appreciate it as you come in and take advantage of the facility,” Lynch said.

Mayor John Green took the opportunity to provide a few words on the facility, which has been in use for over 30 years in the community.

“Unfortunately, I was around when it was built too,” Green joked. “I may be a bit older than some of you out there, but the new modern dressing rooms are going to be beneficial to the community in a state-of-the-art facility for our children and grandchildren for some time.”

He also thanked the province for the significant funds it provided and the township’s partnership with the MAX committee, and the various services clubs and organizations that participated.

“It’s wonderful when a community comes together for something they believe is important,” Green said.

Perth-Wellington MPP John Wilkinson said, “If you are a hockey mom or a hockey dad … and the last time the arena was fixed up was when you were a kid, it’s time for our generation to raise some money, just like our parents and grandparents did.”

Wilkinson added there are great lessons to be learned through activities such as figure skating and hockey – “it’s what Canada is all about.”

“As a province we were delighted to make an investment of $474,000 to help with the fundraising campaign,” he said.

He hopes 20 years from now residents will be bringing in the next generation of children and preparing for the next re-investment into the community.

Councillor Jim Curry, chair of the parks and recreation committee, pointed out the dressing rooms are more than just that –  they were designed to also act as meeting rooms because they are quite large.

Lynch noted that while the dressing rooms are finished, the project is not quite done. He said the doors to the ice surface have yet to be cut in, but he was hoping they’d be done within the next week.

“The story we’ve been given is that the company is busy installing boards for the NHL,” he said. “I can’t imagine how that’s more important than Drayton.”

As well, there is still some landscaping work to be done, and the creation of a half dozen parking spots for the physically challenged. The focus this year was the dressing rooms and the access.

Dale Franklin, chair of the MAX committee made a few comments as well, thanking those who’ve contributed.

Lynch suggested staff may have a challenging time assigning dressing rooms in the future.

He joked that he agreed with the mayor that to give Drayton the home team advantage, by assigning the old rooms to the visitors “and we can have the much better facilities.

“The new job will be to make sure the out of town teams get the chintzy dressing rooms.”