• Hunter Cresswell

Low arena needs support

Fundraiser underway to repair rink

The little arena that could has become the arena that can’t catch a break.


The Central Gatineau Arena is stuck in a catch-22 because it needs to raise money to fix a part that makes ice for the rink, but it needs a functioning ice rink to attract programming, which would bring in funding needed to pay for that part. And that’s ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shut down the arena for the past year and made any fundraising event options impossible.


(From left) Central Gatineau Arena Association director André Asselin, association vice president Susan Draper, association member Frank Mahoney, and association president Ian Storto all agreed that they miss “the people” the most when it comes to the Low arena being temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The association recently kicked off a fundraising campaign, which could save the arena from permanent closure if successful. Hunter Cresswell photo
(From left) Central Gatineau Arena Association director André Asselin, association vice president Susan Draper, association member Frank Mahoney, and association president Ian Storto all agreed that they miss “the people” the most when it comes to the Low arena being temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The association recently kicked off a fundraising campaign, which could save the arena from permanent closure if successful. Hunter Cresswell photo

In order to have a functioning ice rink, the arena needs a new header.


For readers who aren’t familiar with the workings of an indoor rink, headers are the large metal pipes that are part of the system that keeps the concrete pad of the rink cold enough to freeze water and keep it frozen.


The header pipes run perpendicular to the rink behind the goal at the far end of the arena. A brine solution, which doesn’t freeze, runs from the cooler through one header pipe and into dozens of smaller plastic tubes just beneath the concrete rink surface to keep the concrete pad cold. Another header pipe returns the solution back to the cooler.


However, the corrosive brine has taken its toll on the header pipes, which have been there since the arena was opened in 1994. A header leak was patched last year during the shut down, but another is too big to patch and the pipes need to be replaced.


The estimated cost is around $75,000 to buy and install the pipes, and about $17,000 for the brine to be emptied from the system, stored, and then pumped back into the system once the new pipes are installed.


“We haven’t had any revenue since last March when the area had to shut down during the first wave of COVID,” Central Gatineau Arena Association vice president Susan Draper said.

To generate funds for the repairs in light of the shut down, the association launched a GoFundMe fundraiser with a goal of $100,000 to cover the needed repairs on April 13. By the evening of April 19, $15,690 had been pledged, with the biggest donation, $10,000, from Ronald O’Connor Construction Inc.


Every little bit helps, Draper said.


To pledge money to the online fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/f/save-our-arena. To inquire about becoming an arena sponsor or to donate directly, email central.gatineau.arena@gmail.com. Donation cheques addressed to the Central Gatineau Arena Association can be mailed to the arena at 342 Rte. 105, Low Quebec, J0X 2C0.