Last week’s letter about old concerns that the Meredith Centre would be mostly used by out-of-towners was food for thought (“Meredith Centre used by more locals than ‘anyone thought possible,’” Oct. 2 edition).
With the arena up and running, it is indeed great that Chelsea residents are able to use the arena for both hockey and meetings. My daughter’s Chelsea Nordiq ski group will be using it for an upcoming event, and while all my son’s hockey practices have been at Val-des-Monts, Low and Masham so far, the team will eventually see some time in the Chelsea arena.
As for concern that out-of-towners would use the arena not coming true – well, that’s another issue.
A quick glance at the calendar on the Aylmer Hockey Association’s website shows that several Aylmer teams are practicing regularly at the Chelsea arena. No doubt Hull and Gatineau use the arena as well, since the City of Gatineau cannot afford to build and subsidize new arenas for their hockey teams.
That being said, with the Meredith Centre debate long since over, it is definitely in the interest of Chelsea taxpayers to welcome as many out-of-towners as possible in order to share the cost of the arena.
With less than 25 Chelsea youth between the ages of 12-13 playing in the local hockey association, clearly local hockey could never take up the ice-time available in the arena.
For a town the size of Chelsea, funding the smallest deficit possible from the arena is all that can be hoped for at this point.
The next Chelsea Council needs to stand up to developers and put in the well and septic system, which is so desperately needed in order to stop the unacceptable environmental and financial costs associated with trucking in water, and trucking out waste from the Meredith Centre.
As Don Cherry once said, “If it keeps going like this, the zamboni driver is going to be the first star.”