North Bay mayor Al McDonald says work is progressing on getting a new rink in the West Ferris area of the city.
He tells BayToday that the effort was put on "pause" while the Cassellholme issue was being solved.
"Cassellholme was always our number one priority," he said during an interview at the grand opening of Cascades Casino Thursday. "We're working on it. It's not going as fast as we want, but the West Ferris Arena, it's not going to be long before the engineers say 'you can't use that building anymore.'"
McDonald points out that the hockey rinks get the highest usage of any recreational facility in the City, primarily from young families and kids.
Closing West Ferris would mean North Bay would be down to just three rinks, and McDonald maintains there is an ice shortage now, even with four rinks.
"Shame on us for not getting it done sooner but it can't drop off the table because there will be so many families that won't be able to use the arena. We have rep teams now that are playing in Powassan and Astorville and Verner because they can't get ice here."
McDonald says he made a new rink one of his priorities but pauses when asked if he is confident the project will eventually go ahead.
"My fingers are crossed. I hope I can solve it by the time my term is over. I won't be here when it gets started but I've made it a goal to fulfill the "grow North Bay," create Cassellholme, and at least get the shovels in the ground for the community centre."