The Semiahmoo Peninsula is in need of more ice space, representatives from local sports clubs told White Rock city council last week.
Speaking at a June 15 council meeting, Semiahmoo Minor Hockey president Ian Maguire – joined by more than 50 supporters from the hockey organization and White Rock South Surrey Skating Club – told council the city is missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars that is being spent on ice-time in other communities.
“We spend about $800,000 per season on ice time, and $600,000 of that is spent outside of the community,” Maguire said, noting many families are forced to drive to North Surrey, Delta and Richmond.
Maguire said that more access to local rinks would likely result in an increase in registration for both the hockey and figure-skating clubs, and would also open the door for larger-scale sporting events in the community.
“Not only do our associations face limitations on growth, but also hosting opportunities,” Maguire said, noting a recent championship tournament hosted by Semiahmoo Minor Hockey drew a number of out-of-town visitors to the community.
“We could do the same for both figure skating and hockey, however, we’re very limited only having single-sheet arenas in our community.”
Finding enough ice time for its members is not a new problem for Semiahmoo Minor Hockey.
In April 2014, Semi’s director of capital planning Pat La Rue told Peace Arch News that the association was “highly oversubscribed” with about 1,000 players. A consultant hired by the Semiahmoo Minor Hockey in 2013 determined that, between White Rock’s Centennial Arena and South Surrey Arena, the association had adequate space for 400.
At the same time, the association began investigating the possibility of entering into a public-private partnership with the City of Surrey in order to build a new two-ice-sheet facility in Grandview Heights.
That project, however, failed to move beyond preliminary discussions.
“After hearing from developers, it kind of went nowhere,” Maguire told PAN a day after presenting to council.
The City of White Rock has ‘ice time’ listed on the next phase of its 2015 strategic priorities, which guides planning activities, and a report is expected to be brought to council by the end of July, staff confirmed.
– with files from Nick Greenizan