File photo.

Public Meeting Planned For Wallaceburg Arena Upgrades

Wallaceburg residents will get the chance to have their say about what renovations should be made to the local arena at a public meeting next week.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is holding the meeting on Wednesday, August 8 at 7:30pm in the Jack Bachus Mezzanine of the Wallaceburg Memorial Arena, located at 600 Wall St. At the meeting, municipal officials will review schematic drawings and receive input from the public regarding the proposed renovations to the Wallaceburg Memorial Arena.

In January, Chatham-Kent council unanimously approved the $2-million Wallaceburg Memorial Arena renovation project. Design concepts that were previously approved by council include:

  • Expanding the front lobby area and building new fully accessible male/female washrooms, as well as a family change room.
  • Installing a new elevator
  • Reconfiguring the dressing rooms on the west side, keeping the one furthest south and removing the other two to be replaced by a canteen area.
  • Building three new dressing rooms on the west side of the building
  • Developing an ice-level viewing area for spectators with limited mobility to support a full view of the rink

The project’s construction period was supposed to begin on July 1 of this year, but Councillor Carmen McGregor says there were a few delays, mostly due reorganizing the sports teams that play within the arena.

“[It was because of] the time of the year that the motion hit the floor and then to turn around and get the job out to market and have the contractor secured,” explains McGregor. “Also, I think they looked at a little bit of a changed design to improve it a little further with the same amount of money being able to be put into the arena.”

McGregor adds that these changes are minor technical revisions that are needed to accommodate the design.

“I think it’s great for our community, at a time where they’re looking at possibly a twin-pad in Chatham to replace two arenas,” she says. “But our arenas are old and without putting a decent amount of money into them, we can’t continue to maintain them.”

McGregor says by 2025, changes have to be made to arenas to meet accessibility needs.

“It’s going to allow for an elevator, so somebody who is handicap will be able to gain access to the upstairs and there’s a very nice viewing window up there in the warmth. I think they’re also putting a viewing area down on the floor and then the washroom. There will be a lot of dressing room changes and changes to the front lobby,” she says.

McGregor says the municipality is planning to open up the front lobby and move the canteen so there is less congestion. She says there will also be some other structural changes to the roofing and other areas.

According to McGregor, there will be a second public meeting planned for sometime after next Wednesday’s session.