Photo Courtesy: Peter Newbery

If you’re wondering how construction is going on the new Upper Skeena Recreation Centre in Hazelton, you’ve landed on the right story.

Here’s Heart of the Hazelton’s Chair, Peter Newbery, providing us with an update.

“The only difficulties to this point have been weather. We had hoped to have the building enclosed by first snowfall, but that didn’t happen due scheduling complications, which eventually led to heavy snowfall and cooler temperatures at a later date. The building is now enclosed and everything is going according to plan. Although we’ve dealt with a couple weather conflicts, we’re set to open the doors for the new Upper Skeena Recreation Centre in late November, early December.”

Photo Courtesy: Peter Newbery

Newbery says the new recreation centre was fast tracked, when the 40-year-old Hazelton arena was condemned in 2015.

The old arena in Hazelton provided area residents with much more than a place to skate though. It was an events centre and economic driver for the region.

“It was an old tin and timber building that needed to go. We hosted banquets there, graduation ceremonies, and even weddings. This is probably the largest infrastructure project currently taking place in the Upper Skeena District, and it will certainly support a wide range of activities for the community. I can’t stress how important and exciting this opportunity is for the region. ”

The condemning of the old arena also presented the Village of Hazelton with a unique problem. How do they support hockey in the community, without a roof over their head? Newbery says for the time being, they went old school.

“When the old arena roof came down, we were able to salvage the old ice surface. We turned it into natural ice and held hockey outdoors for the last year. Yes, it did make for some very cold games and practices, but the community made due. We are certainly looking forward to getting back to enjoying hockey indoors.”

The total cost for the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre is $19 million dollars.