Saint-Jean receives $5 million for its refrigerated skating rink

Saint-Jean receives $5 million for its refrigerated skating rink
Saint-Jean receives $5 million for its refrigerated skating rink

The City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu will benefit from a grant of $5,020,553 for its project to convert the municipal arena into a covered refrigerated skating rink and four-season sports fields.

According to the schedule planned by the City, the new facilities will be ready for use at the end of 2027.

The contribution from the Government of Quebec is granted under the Financial Assistance Program for Recreational, Sports and Outdoor Infrastructure (PAFIRSPA). It covers a maximum of 66% of the cost of the work. In order not to influence the call for tenders, the City is not disclosing the total value of the project.

Project

The new refrigerated and covered skating rink will be built on the current site of the municipal arena. In the interest of sustainable development, the City intends to keep everything that could be used for the new infrastructure.

The ice rink will be built on the existing concrete slab. The boards will also be kept, as will the cooling system. The roof, walls and stands of the arena will be demolished.

A new building will be built and will include four changing rooms and a sanitary block. A multi-purpose room will also be set up upstairs, explains Marie-Anne Lavoie, director of the Culture, Social Development and Recreation Department.

The new facilities will be open twelve months a year. The rink will be able to be used for a period of approximately three months, mainly for free skating and hockey.

Ms. Lavoie mentions that other activities could be held there the rest of the year, notably for other sports, fitness classes, etc.

Timeline

Before proceeding with the demolition of the old arena, the City plans to put the second ice rink into service at the Colisée Isabelle-Brasseur, thus ensuring the continuation of skating and hockey activities for both organizations and the population.

Included in the three-year capital expenditure program, this project is already underway. The City is expected to award the contract at the end of 2025. Construction work will be spread out throughout 2026.

The second ice rink will be built on the front part of the building. The project includes the addition of four locker rooms and stands with 200 to 300 seats.

Marie-Anne Lavoie indicates that the new ice rink will be open twelve months a year. During the summer period, the current facilities at the Colisée could be used for other purposes, notably for various events that require more space.

The end of the work at the Colisée will coincide with the start of construction at the municipal arena. Ms. Lavoie expects the refrigerated rink project to be launched in early 2027 so that the first skaters can be seen twelve months later.

Good news

The granting of a $5 million subsidy from the Quebec government for the conversion of the Gouin Boulevard arena into a refrigerated skating rink is something that Mayor Andrée Bouchard is pleased about.

“This is good news. The arena is at the end of its life. It will be a new, sustainable infrastructure that will allow everyone to come skate during the winter in the city centre,” she says.

She emphasizes that this skating rink creates an interesting recreational sports center with the baseball stadium and the skateboard park.

Ms. Bouchard also notes that the new facilities will somewhat compensate for the elimination of six neighbourhood skating rinks last winter. She points out that this winter, the rinks were only open for 16 days.

The number of neighborhood skating rinks went from 23 to 17 last year in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Periods of rain each winter have the effect of reducing the days of use.

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