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Some renovations at N.S. arena not sitting well with spectators


Allan Smith knows the Sackville Arena. Finding his way through the tunnels and rooms is second nature.

Lately Smith, who is the president of the Lake District Recreation Association, has been overseeing $800,000 renovations, including a new refrigeration system, a heated viewing area and locker rooms. For the most part, those who use the facility like what they see.

“It’s about time, I think, that they put some money into this place. It’s been here a long time and it has been ageing a little bit, so I think it’s going to be a good thing,” says Bob MacGillvary, who has been playing hockey at the arena since in opened in the early 1970s.

Some renovations, like the new backrest on the bleachers, aren’t sitting well with spectators.

“Omg, they are sooo bad, absolutely awful, and the worst thing to happen to the arena,” are a sample of some of the online comments.

“I know people…like to complain. If something changes, they like to make a comment, I have no problem with that,” Smith says.

According to Smith, the changes were necessary

“We had to limit the people climbing down willy-nilly anywhere they liked,” he says.

Three people who fell on the old benches sued the arena. As a result, their insurance rates quadrupled.

“We were at $30,000 and after the third claim it was $120,000 and after the third claim the insurance company said if you have another claim you won’t have insurance,” Smith says.

And without insurance?

“The building would close, that means HRM would have to take it over and that means that cost would go through the roof.”

Smith hopes concerns will ease overtime. The hope is the renovations will continue to allow the Sackville Arena to serve the community like it has been doing for the last 50 years.

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