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UPDATE: Windsor council looking to extend ice contract at Hants Exhibition Arena to 2019

Hants Exhibition Arena is located on Wentworth Road in Windsor.
Hants Exhibition Arena is located on Wentworth Road in Windsor.

WINDSOR, N.S. — It looks like ice time in Windsor is secure for the near future, if the Windsor Agricultural Society agrees to extending the town's contract an extra year before it’s terminated.

Windsor’s chief administrative officer Louis Coutinho said that after consulting with arena users, an interruption to ice time would have a major impact on hockey teams and other groups.

Council agreed to send a request to the Windsor Agricultural Society, which owns the Hants Exhibition Arena, to extend the termination of the contract to April 30, 2019 and make any minor repairs to the ice plant that may be necessary, including purchasing of new parts.

Town staff said the ice plant is in need of major maintenance, although it may be able to last two more seasons.

In a report to council on Sept. 26, Coutinho offered a couple of options to council. He said they could stay the course, cancel the contract as planned and allow hockey teams and other users to seek alternative venues for the following season.

“This would not be a good option; it would seriously impact the hockey leagues, the school, and be very inconvenient for many reasons,” he said. “The status quo is not wise.”

The second option was spending approximately $20,000 to repair the ice plant, as maintenance is overdue.

Council has yet to decide on whether to put funding towards the deferred maintenance, but it may be discussed during the next town budget.

Coutinho said there hasn’t been any discussion with the Windsor Agricultural Society at this point if they would be receptive to extending the termination of the contract until 2019.

In a previous interview with the Valley Journal-Advertiser, David Combes, who manages the Hants County Exhibition, said he would be interested to hear from the town, but it would need to be settled quickly.  

Deputy Mayor Laurie Murley made a motion to make a request with the Windsor Agricultural Society to extend the termination of the contract to April 30, 2019.

That motion passed unanimously.

The feasibility report on a new arena, which has two proposals, was originally intended to be complete by the end of August, but Coutinho said it might not be complete until October.

“We need to buy ourselves some time, because nothing is going to happen until you have a design,” Coutinho said.

Firearm bylaw amendment approved

During the council meeting, Windsor council also approved amending the firearms bylaw that would allow blanks to be discharged for special events such as a rodeo or sporting competition.

Coutinho said he consulted with local RCMP and legal staff on the existing firearms bylaw before bringing the amendment forward to council.

There were no written or oral presentations in favour or against the amendment from the public.

Coun. Shelley Bibby asked if this would cover film crews that use blanks when filming a movie or TV show.

Coutinho said film sets would be covered under the special events aspect of the amendment.

The amendment will officially become law once it’s approved by the province and advertised publicly.

Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, it was suggested that council wanted to extend the contract to 2019, rather the request to the Windsor Agricultural Society will be to extend the termination of the agreement to 01 April 2019.

Council has also not made a decision on spending any town funds to undergo the refit of the ice plant, but to take necessary repairs to ice plant if it should fail. This will be examined again at budget time next year to assess if there is a change in plans.

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