Bayfield Arena

The Arena, first erected in 1954 and rebuilt in 1973 has reached the end of its life as an ice facility. Given the miniscule hours of usage, no amount of nostalgia can justify its continued operation as an arena.
This is an outstanding opportunity to incorporate modern building techniques with a community based vision of its future. 
Perhaps the project could start by demolishing the two story portion of the complex containing Dressing Rooms and Community Hall & Kitchen. This would create space for a modern purpose-built ground floor Community Hall and Kitchen meeting today’s Health & Fire Codes. Such a Kitchen would have the added ability to service the current ice surface area which could attract larger functions.
The Ice Surface provides a great opportunity for exercise facilities, pickle ball courts and other athletic uses. As a multi use facility it should be able to quickly provide large, unobstructed space for exhibitions, trade and consumer shows, musical & other performances.  The ideas are limitless.
Let’s not waste this opportunity. Use this space to put out your ideas for the benefit of everyone to consider. 
Speak now or don’t complain later.


# Tony 2013-11-08 10:05
In the long run, we'll all be impacted by the decisions and plans that need to be made for our arena.
Please share your thoughts.
# fisherbill 2013-11-08 20:28
There is no doubt that community center in Bayfield must be enhanced to accommodate growing needs for recreation and community sponsored events. I urge all interested parties or individuals and the Bluewater counsel to initiate a plan to move forward by early spring and have a that initiative in place in the fall of 2014.
# Helen 2013-11-14 08:01
I have lived in Bayfield for ten years and have never used the ice. I am very much in favour of making this into an all purpose fitness/communi ty/trade centre. I would love the space to be available for walking in the winter time, possibly with a walking track, as well as accommodating the current fitness classes, which can possibly be extended to more variety and larger crowds. I can also see the space being used for a farmers market, so the season can be extended and vendors and shoppers are not subjected to weather.
I strongly feel we should look at this as an opportunity and go forward to assess the needs and interests of this community. Congratulations to the Lions for opening up this dialogue.
# Wayne McKaig 2013-11-19 12:27
I have noticed that Clinton now has a YMCA associated with their new arena. I think we should be striving to have the same here in Bayfield. Many more people are understanding and taking time to improve their physical condition as well as adding some social activity as well. I also believe there are a number of other groups in the community that need to be contacted to determine all possible needs for our municipality. I would be glad to help out in anyway I can as well.
# Helen 2013-11-22 08:00
It has been suggested to remove the second story – current kitchen and community centre – but I would strongly suggest keeping that space for the fitness classes that are currently being held three times a week and could possibly expand.

If the kitchen is not up to standards, I suggest the kitchen be removed and that space be added to the community centre. Keep the washrooms and small storage areas, but remove the excess chairs, tables and podium, so this can be a dedicated fitness area and the equipment can be stored properly.

Now that the roof has been repaired and the windows replaced, it makes no sense removing this space. A new kitchen can be installed on the main floor, which will be the preferred area for banquets, weddings, etc.
# lynne gillians 2013-11-22 09:13
I do not agree with demolishing the second floor of the arena. Ehy nit move the kitchen to the main floor and expand the second floor to give more floor space on the second level. The main arena is most unsuitable for exercise ckasses as the floor has nogive to it and the acoustics are absolutely dreadful. The exercise ckasses are a vital part of this community lets maintain a healthy active community that attracts new retirees because we offer the ability to stay fit in our own village
# Doreen 2013-11-25 09:34
I regret the loss of the ice rink to the community. If all avenues have been exhausted to utilize the rink then I support using the arena as a public space available to the community for a variety of activities.

Along with what others have suggested ie.
winter walking track,
expanded fitness classes,
year round farmers market,
I would like to add year round:
classroom space for extension courses from institutions like Fanshawe College or local high schools,
drop in centre for preschoolers and parents,
indoor/outdoor cafe for “coffee and donut” crowd,
booths for vendors from surrounding communities,
large auditorium for visiting performers,
rental space for weddings, anniversaries, and corporate get togethers
badminton, volleyball, tennis courts
# Bill Steenstra 2013-12-03 16:11
It's great to see the feedback received on this community blog. At this point in time there's probably more questions than answers on how we will proceed. But with continued dialogue with all service groups and individuals I'm sure there'll be a positive response. It's important to remember the success is not dependent on just a few individuals but the input from all citizens in the greater Bayfield area. Success will come with positive dialogue and a willingness to move forward in a timely fashion. Many questions will surround this project on the best way to use this facility to its fullest potential. Once these are answered I am confident that this facility will meet all expectations.
# James 2013-12-03 19:33
I believe there are a great number things the arena could be used for, and as a. Community centre I believe at least one of these things should include the youth of this community, I am yet to hear of any ideas which do include them. Something to peel them away from the tv or video games, something to get them active, to make them exercise, while having fun and meeting other kids. An ice rink perhaps. This ice may not get used by everyone but what will? There are ice rinks near by but there are also walking tracks and gyms near by too, hockey, figure skating and people just going for a free skate I believe are important parts of a whole community. Once the ice is gone it is gone forever. So we need to keep this in mind and not be selfish to our wants and think about what we can do for the young children. These kids who learn and have fun at this arena , they smile like Santa just came every time they are there. Put a warm coat on and walk around the block so they don't have to!
# Nathan McBride 2013-12-04 07:55
The arena in its current state offers an area (the second floor) for fitness classes. As I understand it, none of those fitness classes are currently experiencing "over crowding" due to a lack of space. On top of that there is also the Town Hall which is available for rent for fitness classes, yoga etc. Bayfield as a community is very lucky in its abundance of community resources and space for community events and activities.
With all of that in mind I don't feel it is necessary to remove the ice surface from the arena as we wouldn't be adding anything new to the community and instead actually be removing something which is currently enjoyed by many of the local youth (and would likely be used much more if there wasn't the constant annual threat for the past few years of the ice being removed).
# Ian S 2013-12-07 06:08
I disagree with the initial statement. Bayfield is built on nostalgia. I look back on my hockey picture from 1976 (which includes some of the parents of our past and current minor hockey system) and fond memories of standing by the maple tree just outside the fairground gates waiting for a ride to Huron Park for hockey school (who can forget their Willys Jeep converted to resurface the ice). The idea of incorporating an ice surface suitable to continue these hockey memories for future generations and those that have figure skated, played broom ball, curled or just skated for fun on the Bayfield rink is a must.
There is discussion of returning to the idea of an arena board to manage the facility (the new days of Harry McDonald???). I think putting the responsibility for success of the facility in the hands of balanced representation from the community is a good idea.
I think we can all win, serve the needs now and create memories for future generations.
# Mary Ellen Coombs 2013-12-07 09:38
The Lions Club is a great service club in our community. Over the years you have donated to the Bayfield Skating Club and we truly have appreciated your support!
My 14 year old daughter wrote the following letter to the members of the Bluewater Council. It provides some insight as to how important an ice pad is in our community from the perspective of the youth.
# Mary Ellen Coombs 2013-12-07 09:45
December 4, 2013
Dear Bluewater Council Members,
My name is Marlese Coombs and I have been a member of the Bayfield Skating Club for eleven years. The Bayfield arena has been my second home. When I saw the words “Thanks for the memories” painted on the ice it broke my heart. Over the years I have built memories and made lifelong friendships. An arena is a centre of a community. You not only skate with people forget all of the fancy little things, just think about the ice. The smooth, crisp, hard ice of the Bayfield arena.
# Mary Ellen Coombs 2013-12-07 09:47
Thanks to the skating club I have learned so many life skills and lessons. I learned how to teach kids, and how to be enthusiastic even if you don’t feel like it. I learned how to get along with everyone, and how to be more coachable in any sport. But most of all I learned no matter hard things get you have to keep trying, no matter how many times you get pushed down you have to stand back up and keep trying. That is why I feel an ice surface needs to stay in our community because I want those little skaters on the ice that the other girls and I help to coach to have the same opportunities we have had. I want them to be able to meet different people in their own community, not someone else’s community. Thanks to these life lessons I know that no matter how many times we are pushed down we will continue to try. Figure skating is a passion not just a sport. I know to you it is just an ice surface but for me it is where I have grown up.
Marlese Coombs
# Mike G 2013-12-10 06:42
The idea of revitalizing the facility is a worthy cause. There are numerous ways it could be made better and increase usage. But in my opinion the ice should stay if for no other reason than for the free skate alone for the kids. For adults that have never tried it, all I can say is that it is your lose. Don't make it ours. This is Canada folks... we play base ball and soccer in summer and we skate and ski in winter. You can walk anywhere any time.
# Ron Keys 2013-12-10 09:58
I couldn't help notice the comment regarding the Bayfield Arena. It sates "the building has passed it's usefulness for ice". Who has decided that to be true? There is approximately 26 hours of ice use age each week. Some paid renters and free public skating.
I am shocked that the Lions Club of Bayfield would be so excited to take over a facility that all ages are using in your community.
I have made a presentation to the Municipality's arena committee, which with the purchase of a floor to cover ice we could all use the facility, not just for ice but also other uses. They have assured us the their decision is not about money. So what is it about?
# fisherbill 2013-12-10 12:42
Just to clarify and set the record straight that the Bayfield Lions Club has no such interest in taking over the arena complex. We as an organization take great pride in supporting the community at large through organizing fundraisers and events that bring the community together and helping those in need. That's our main initiative as far as the arena complex is concerned. Let's use this format to exchange positive ideas that move the community forward.
# IanS 2013-12-21 18:55
I would encourage anyone with interest to vew the presentations given at the "public" meetings of the BAWC. http://goo.gl/7UapKb
There seems to be some confusion about the scope of this project and the "underutilizati on" of the ice surface. My opinion is that the whole facility needs to be evaluated. The facts that ice surface rentals bring in over $30,000 per year and significant capital expenditures made over the past years to maintain the ice making equipment (which means retiring equipment with useful life value remaining) should be considered.
My opinion of the various ideas presented shows a facility with various sized spaces would be better utilized. What if we add multi purpose dressing rooms and a space designed specifically for the various other needs identified. The ice surface remains the largest space and is still available for use in off season, and the facility now has more space to accommodate many community users and a variety of purposes.

You have no rights to post comments