Twenty years ago on March 1, 1996 the ice came out of the old Tavistock arena to make way for the “New” arena to be built and opened in September of the same year. Not only do we still call it our “new’ arena but it actually looks new, or at least it does not show its age. Visitors marvel when you tell them it is 20 years old. They also marvel at the number of banners hanging from the rafters and the quality and quantity of the signage advertising local businesses. The users are greeted with a clean, practical and highly functional facility. The most amazing fact of this facility it that it has covered all operating costs from operating revenue over these 20 years! There is no other arena in the province that comes close to this claim. How can the small community of East Zorra-Tavistock boast such a claim? Community, community, community!
It started with community consultation and has continued with community participation. The design and construction were overseen by a local group of community volunteers. The fund raising group brought in over $1.2 million from local businesses and residents. The governance for 20 years has been a volunteer board. The community has used it for hockey, figure skating, and public skating. It is home to the Tavistock Fall Fair, The World Crokinole Championship, The Southwestern Ontario Fiddle and Step Championship, and a host of other events. A special thanks to the Men’s Club for operating the concession stand. Each person that has helped along the way should feel proud of their contribution to these first 20 years. Well done each and every one, thank-you!
The foremost appreciation goes to Ken Wettlaufer. Ken has been the Arena Manager since day one. He has been the promoter and champion each and every day. He has been the overseer and caretaker to keep it clean and safe. He has been the frugal and thrifty operator to keep the books balanced. Please take a moment and say a personal thanks to Ken.
The next 20 years will be more challenging to maintain the standards of the first 20 years but I am confident that as a community we can make it happen. Please consider how you can be a part. Your suggestions can be passed along to Ken or any Board Member or Councillor. Let’s celebrate our past success while planning wisely for our future.