Whitney Pier residents fighting to save community rink
Published Sunday, March 19, 2017 7:13PM ADT
A 50th anniversary skate was held Sunday at a beloved community rink in Whitney Pier, N.S., that is itself on thin ice.
The beloved rink ran into financial trouble after Sydney Minor Hockey left this year for a new arena in nearby Membertou.
Some feel it's simply a sign of the times, but Kim Sheppard of the Whitney Pier rink board of directors insists it will continue to hold open skates.
“We're going to do everything we can to make this happen for at least another five to 10 years," she said.
A big crowd turned out for the skate for what they hope will not be one final turn around the classic old barn.
"The Pier rink was built in the community, by the community, so we wanted to do something to celebrate," said Sheppard.
Mary Gallivan has been skating at the rink since day one.
"When the rink first opened, and I continued skating until the last senior's skating in 2015," Gallivan said.
For others, the skate has become a weekly tradition.
"We come up here every Sunday for skating,” said local resident Ray Snow. “I've been skating here since I was a kid."
The odds may be against them, but Sheppard says they have new board members with new ideas for creative fundraisers. They're optimistic they can come up with the $60,000 per year needed to keep the place running.
"We're definitely going to have the money raised. We're not going to stop until we do," Sheppard said.
The city will perform an assessment on the building shortly after the ice comes out to make sure it is structurally sound. It will be a lot of work, but community members feel the Pier rink is a community staple worth trying to save.
"Wonderful people, wonderful music, and wonderful icem,” said Gallivan. “It's a great combination. We waited a long time for this rink and I'd hate to see it close."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.