Excitement Growing As Opening Day of New Arena Complex in Hazelton Draws Nearer

John Crawford

The Chair of the Owners Partnership Committee that was in charge of the arena project in the Hazeltons says it's taken longer than expected to get the building ready for use -- but it'll be worth the wait.

Gail Lowry, who's also the mayor of New Hazelton, says planning for a new indoor ice surface has been in the works for over a decade -- well before the Ken Trombley Memorial Arena was condemned and demolished in 2015.  

The Upper Skeena Recreation Centre -- which will also include basketball courts, a gymnasium and many other features -- has been under construction since the fall of 2017 and was originally supposed by ready by last Christmas.

Now, the opening date is set for Saturday, September 14th -- and Lowry says while the delays have been frustrating, they were unavoidable. 

"We had that horrific winter with all that snow and those poor guys would spend half-a-day just digging snow out before they could even start working -- and then before they even started, they found all that bedrock tht they didn't know about and that set us back a month or two, having to blast all that out so it is frustrating but it is what it is, isn't it," she said.

But Lowry says the new complex is going to be a showcase for the whole community:  "there'll be something in there for everybody -- we've got the gymnasium there, there's all kinds of sports, the way the lines are all set up, they can have volleyball games, there's basketball games, either the length or on the sides -- they can have floor hockey, there's a fitness room -- it's going to be wonderful."

[PHOTO:  Gail Lowry, Mayor of New Hazelton/Chair of Owners Partnership Committee]

In addition to Lowry, the Owners Partnership Committee includes representatives from the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District, the Village of Hazelton, the Gitxsan Government Commission, the Hereditary Chiefs, the Skeena Ice Arena Society and Doctor Peter Newbery, who is the fundraising chair.

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