Arena Purchased by Agricultural Society

Arena Purchased by Agricultural Society
The Town of Bruce Mines and Township of Plummer Additional officially transferred ownership of the Centennial Arena to the Bruce Mines Agricultural Society on November 30th, 2016.

Council members met with Ag members at the arena Wednesday night for an official handing over of the keys. Plummer Additional Mayor Beth West says “Handing over the arena is bittersweet for sure. So many people in the community, put so much into building the arena and it will never be an arena again, but times are changing and the demographics and needs of the community are not what they were 50 years ago.”

Both municipal councils are trying to move forward by selling the arena which was no longer financially feasible, costing each municipality roughly $65,000 in the last year of operation as a rink.

The Centennial Arena was listed for sale with a commercial realtor for 6 months previous to the ownership being transferred to the Agricultural Society, with no takers. Many residents were upset that the arena was being “given away” or sold for a token $1. However, if the arena had been sold to a business or individual for the $150,000 asking price or less, $130,000 of Ontario Trillium grant money would’ve had to have been repaid by the municipalities. Since the arena was sold to a not for profit organization, the money will not have to be repaid.

Conditions were included in the sale of the arena to protect the interests of the municipalities. Plummer Additional Township has First Right to Refusal, so if the Ag Society puts the arena up for sale, the township gets the first opportunity to purchase it. Also, if sold within the next 10 years, the Ag Society would only receive 50% of the sale, with both municipalities receiving 25% each from the sale.

The Township of Plummer Additional has agreed to support the Ag Society for the next two years, giving them $5000 in 2017 and another $5000 in 2018. All of these dollars are to be spent on capital expenses for maintenance and repairs to the arena.

When asked where the money previously spent on running and maintaining the arena will be reallocated, Mayor West said, “Council has not decided that yet, but services such as road improvements and maintenance are always a big issue for our ratepayers.”

Some equipment that was not included with the sale of the arena, such as the Zambonie, score board, fitness equipment and other recreational equipment can be stored until June and then sold off as surplus by the municipalities. Most items in the kitchen and boardroom were left for the new owners, such as tables, chairs and kitchenwares.

Marla Adamson-Barber who spoke for the Agricultural Society said, “We are pleased to be able to take over ownership of the Centennial Arena”.  In a press release, the Ag Society states that, “The arena was constructed in 1966 on land donated to the town and township from the Ag Society’s property.  The Ag Society was instrumental in securing loans to build the facility and many members donated significant amounts of time to developing and running programs offered in the building.”

The Society plans to operate the arena as a community recreation facility.  While ice is not part of the short-term plan many other opportunities are being looked at.  Community use garage, kitchen and hobby space seem appropriate for our aging population.  We plan to use the space to host consignment auctions, parties, concerts and playdates.  The arena will also house many aspects of the annual Fall Fair and with that we hope to be able to offer a wider variety of entertainment.

The Society is working closely with the Canada 150 sub-committee of the Bruce Mines & District Chamber of Commerce.  We look forward to increasing our partnerships to make the Centennial Arena a community gathering place again.

To help offset some of the costs of repair, refurbishing and ownership the Ag Society is offering winter storage at reduced rates this season. 

Pictured above Mayor and Councillors Plummer Additional (left) Bruce Mines Agricultural Society President and members (centre) Town of Bruce Mines Mayor and Councillors (right) with the exception of Diane Adamson-Ag Society (far right)