A local rink is so much more than a building and a sheet of ice. It is a place people gather to learn new skills and connect with others. It is a hub of year-round activity nurturing shared experiences across generations. Nowhere is this truer than in Tyne Valley. The rink inspires community engagement and physical activity throughout the winter. In the summer, it hosts the world class, and wildly successful, Tyne Valley Oyster Festival drawing visitors from across Canada and beyond to West Prince.
The loss of the Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre is heartbreaking. Firefighters from many local fire departments worked throughout the early hours on Sunday, December 29th, to battle the blaze. They were helped by many volunteers who brought food and other supports. My deepest appreciation to the men and women who gave everything they could to extinguish the fire quickly while ensuring everyone’s safety.
It is hard to fully describe the feelings of shock and sadness I experienced the first time I walked around the still smoldering shell of the building Sunday morning. Since then I have heard many stories about how over the years the rink has been a part of the lives of individuals and families. I have also heard time and again the desire of the community to start rebuilding and to move forward.
Since Sunday, I have been in regular contact with the Mayor, CAO, and rink manager. A project management team made up of local stakeholders has been formed. They are working quickly and diligently on plans to rebuild. Initial responses from both the provincial government and our federal MP, Bobby Morrissey, have been positive. I am hopeful this will turn into immediate action and much needed commitments of financial support.
Tyne Valley and the surrounding area is strong and resilient. The community came together to build this rink. I am proud to stand with the community and support, in any way I can, the building of a new facility that will be environmentally and economically sustainable for future generations.