Public meeting planned on future of Bridgewater arena

Discussion session scheduled for May 4 at town hall

A decision regarding the future of the Bridgewater Memorial Arena (BMA) has been further delayed after Bridgewater council decided on April 13 to let the public have its say.

The public discussion session will take place on May 4 at town hall. It will be the only item on the agenda.

“I think we, to a degree, established a bit of a precedent with the decision on the outdoor pool when we referred it to a discussion session,” said Mayor David Walker. “I think we would be making a significant mistake if we didn’t allow for that opportunity. I know it delays things a little bit because there’s significant implications for whatever decision we make.”

Five councillors voted in favour of the decision. One voted against.

“The pool was not the same in my opinion, so I’m not supporting the motion. It’s time we made a decision,” said Deputy Mayor Bill McInnis. Council’s goal was to make a decision on the future of the rink by the end of April. Currently, the BMA has a projected deficit over $180,000.

Dawn Keizer, chief financial officer for the town, was asked by council to determine how putting a lock on the door without demolishing the rink would impact this year’s budget. A February 23 meeting revealed the cost of keeping the facility open to be $138,000 and of demolishing it to be $162,000.

Having the discussion session and delaying a decision on the rink may push this year’s budget approval date up to May 25.

“I’m still convinced on May 11 we’ll make decision based on what is best for our community and the best sustainability of our community,” said Mayor Walker. “We’re making decisions in this budget that we’re not going to be delighted about, but we have to make them because the alternative is raising taxes significantly.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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