City closes doors to Arnaitok Arena

Not enough activity to support two facilities



Mayor John Matthews said the city’s Arnaitok Arena will close this spring after a recreational master plan showed there isn’t enough activity to support two arenas in Iqaluit.

A new arena complex housing the city’s recreation offices was completed this fall on the road to Apex, near the middle school, in anticipation of the Arctic Winter Games in March.

The Arnaitok Arena, which shares space with the city’s main offices, has been open since the early 1970s. Its closure will affect people who have become used to set ice times.

“We’ll have to pick up the load of public skate, family skate, broom ball that kind of stuff,” said Simon Adams, manager of facilities and operations for the city. Adams is responsible for looking after rinks and playgrounds.

“There will be fewer hours for public and family skates. Things like that will be hurt,” Adams said, and teams may have to be flexible about when they use the ice.

Minor hockey and figure skating may have take place in the mornings, Adams suggested.

“The community will have to change, that’s all,” he said. “We’re going to have to fit everything into one place.”

Adams also said with only one arena it will be difficult to stage any national events or tournaments that require lots of ice time.

While both arenas will be running full-tilt during the Arctic Winter Games, the doors to the old arena will close permanently on April 22. The five full-time staff will move to the new arena.

Matthews said there are no immediate plans for the old arena. The city had been in negotiations with the RCMP, which is looking for a new home, but he said those talks are at a standstill.

“It’s a desirable piece of real estate and the city does need a new building because that other building has certain deficiencies,” Matthews admitted. “If we could get a good price for it and find some other accommodation, that would be suitable for us. I don’t think there’s much reason for holding it unless it’s viable.”

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