Future unclear for the Bayplex in Glace Bay
Questions continue to surround the future of the Bayplex in Glace Bay.
While some residents are divided as-to whether the beleaguered building should be renovated or replaced, others are simply angry the rink fell into such disrepair after barely 20 years.
"In my nine years on council, it's probably the most talked about, the most controversial that I've run across," says councillor George MacDonald.
The rink will close for the next year or two due to a slew of structural concerns.
"It's more than just an arena. it's a focal point of the community, so people are very disappointed," MacDonald says.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality approved a new recreation master plan at a council meeting Tuesday in Eskasoni. The plan cites the Bayplex as being roughly 75 per cent through its lifespan just 21 years after it opened.
MacDonald says many are wondering whether plans to spend several million dollars to renovate the building is throwing good money after bad.
"It could be, and that's another controversial issue,” he says. “Whether we should put the six or seven million in there, or look for a new building."
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke says right now, a new rink simply isn't an option.
“A replacement of that facility would start at 16, up to $30 million. I know CBRM doesn't have those types of resources."
The recreation master plan recommends exploring the possibility of a second ice surface at Sydney's Centre 200, along with plans for increased use of brand new rinks in Membertou and North Sydney.
"My question always is and still is, when I go to board meetings, who actually owns the Bayplex?" MacDonald says.
The municipality says another engineering assessment cost-shared by the three levels of government is needed before it can decide whether to take over the building.
"The $30,000 we have to spend on the engineering assessment upcoming will give us a full picture,” says Clarke. “Once we have that picture, we can sit with the community and give them the facts as we know them."
Clarke says any renovations would be done with the plan for the Bayplex to last at least another 20 years.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.