The Cobourg Community Centre opened in 2011 with two ice pads and made the Jack Heenan and Memorial Arenas on Furnace Street redundant. The newer Jack Heenan Arena was taken over by the West Northumberland Curling Club and in 2019 the Memorial Arena was shut down. I believe it was Cobourg’s first publicly owned Arena. It’s now 70 years old – it was opened in January 1950 but a fire in 1953 closed it until it was rebuilt in 1954. In 2019, staff thought that the Cultural Plan might suggest uses but that didn’t happen so eventually an Ad Hoc Committee was formed to suggest what might happen to it. (By-Law 021-2021 was passed 20 September 2021). See links below for reports on these snail-paced actions. But now that the committee has members and terms of reference, they are meeting and have a plan to come up with recommendations.
At the committee’s next meeting on March 23, Brian Geerts, Director of Community Services, will present a “Work Plan”. The plan spells out what the committee is supposed to achieve but is also useful as a progress report since it includes information on some Options and Constraints.
Project Goals and Objectives
- Identify and consider the needs of the community;
- Consider the Memorial Arena Property Condition Assessment conducted by Pinchin Ltd in 2018;
- Review and tour the Memorial Arena building and site;
- Consider the site in relation to the present and potential use of the adjacent Jack Heenan Arena, other area development plans [such as the Tannery Project], and the Town’s Zoning By-law and Official Plan;
- Consider successful examples of arena repurposing from other municipalities;
- Consider the Town of Cobourg’s commitment to sustainability
- Encourage and receive public submissions of ideas and suggestions for the site;
- Consider a range of opportunities which may include, but are not limited to:
- Alternative recreational or cultural uses;
- Community partnership opportunities;
- The disposal or development of the site;
- Consider the financial feasibility of each option with input from the Town’s Finance Department;
- Document the potential advantages and disadvantages of each shortlisted option;
- Consider other matters as referred to the Committee by Council.
The committee’s output will be a report to Council of a shortlist of three to six options for the Memorial Arena that:
- meet the needs of the community,
- are financially and technically viable, and
- align with the Town of Cobourg’s Strategic Plan.
There are some constraints that must be considered:
- Existing solar array contract [the roof is fully covered by Solar panels].
- Building condition assessment including accessibility considerations
- Utility connections through Memorial Arena to Jack Heenan Arena
Possible uses to be considered
See the full Work Plan for some limited (“high level”) comments on these options.
The Work plan also includes guidelines for managing the project – that is, suggestions on how to go about coming up with recommendations.
There will be public consultation along the way – this is a significant project and could take a while.
Posts on Cobourg News Blog
- Committee formed to decide on Memorial Arena – 8 April 2021
- Staff Propose closing Memorial Arena – 30 July 2019
Memorial Arena Ad Hoc Committee members
Citizens: Allan Proos; James Young; Don Wilcox; Dora Body; Susan Caron.
Councillors: Emily Chorley; Brian Darling; Nicole Beatty
Staff: Brian Geerts, Director of Community Services; Jason Johns, Manager, Arenas and Facilities; Jodi Ware-Simpson.