File photo.

Wallaceburg Memorial Arena won’t be open until late September

A delayed shipment of flooring is preventing the newly renovated Wallaceburg arena from opening on time.

Issues installing a rubberized floor will keep skaters off the ice and parents out of the building until September 20, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent said in a news release. Teams were scheduled to begin their pre-season workouts in two weeks on September 3. In addition, the regular season was scheduled to commence on September 16.

“We have been informed by the subcontractor responsible for the rubberized floor that delivery of the material will be delayed,” said Jane McGee, the recreation facilities supervisor. “The project was proceeding on schedule but without the flooring, we can’t use the arena.”

The new flooring is a key component to new changes, McGree said, because it eliminates contact between skates and concrete.

The Wallaceburg Minor Hockey Association (WMHA), Wallaceburg Figure Skating Club, and Wallaceburg Thunderhawks Junior C team are among the main users of the arena. McGee said the team will not be able to use the ice for the pre-season, but arrangements have been made to use other arenas in the municipality.

“The Thunderhawks regular season-opening game Saturday, September 21 is expected to proceed as scheduled,” the municipality said. “Staff are working with user groups to ensure they can find required ice time in neighbouring municipal arenas.”

In addition to new flooring, the arena received a $1.8 million makeover which also includes three new dressing rooms and a referee’s room.

The municipality said a fire at the arena in April was not a factor that led to the opening of the arena being delayed.