Hazelton Wanting New Arena
Hazelton is working hard on getting a new ice arena... Yesterday the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre Capital Campaign Committee named Olympic Medallist and Hazelton native Carol Huynh to be the honorary chairperson for the project.
The Hazelton’s Ice Arena was built by volunteers in 1971. Since then it has been used for many purposes, such as graduations, weddings, figure skating and hockey. The arena's current condition is no longer safe to do those events and according to Old Hazelton Mayor Alice Maitland it may be on its last legs. “It's also a dangerous place to be in terms of the roof leaks but it also has a lot of condensation on it, so it can rain on the ice arena when it's nice outside, and you'll get lumps on the ice that are quite big.”
Capital Campaign Committee Chair Dr. Peter Newbery says, “There are other economic benefits as well in terms of attracting people to the community and so on, but my main focus at the moment is on addressing some of the health care and recreational needs of the community and from that stand point this is hugely important.”
The benefit of having Huynh on board is to have a recognizable face supporting the Hazelton’s in getting a new arena. Maitland explains, “For money for us and make people aware of what kind of position we are in building a new arena , and she is a great spokesperson because she is known everywhere and she grew up here, used the arena, used the high school gym and all of those things, so we think she is an excellent spokesperson.”
Carol Huynh says, “I'm more than happy to be a part of that and I think it is really important to have a new arena built here because the one that we have right now is really run down, and basically condemned I believe the arena has such a huge part in these communities. Well with everything, it's community wellness it's a place where people go to be fit and be together as a family and as a community and an important fixture of any community and this one especially.”
The plan is to have the arena adjacent to the current facility. As of right now the regional district and local municipalities have committed 1.1 million dollars to the project. Dr. Newbery says, “We are ready to launch a fundraising campaign and we're going to be working on that as of the next little while some funding has already been committed but we are looking at a major funding raising campaign which hopefully won't take too long.”
Huynh says, “I think it’s very special that I'm able to come back and give back a little bit to a community that has given me so much.”