HomeNew APM Centre offers wide range of activities

New APM Centre offers wide range of activities

Sep 9 2002

Besides hosting many sport and recreational events, the new center has full facilities for preparing banquets and fundraising dinners, and can host wedding receptions, trade shows, conventions and Christmas parties.

By Doug Gallant – The Guardian

CORNWALL – Five years of planning and hard work by officials of more than a dozen communities paid big dividends Friday with the official opening of the new APM Centre.

The opening festivities were highlighted by the unveiling of the facility’s cornerstone by Malpeque MP, Wayne Easter, PEI Community and Cultural Affairs Minister, Elmer MacFadyen and Ron Keefe, president of Communities 13 Inc.

Cornwall Mayor, Jack Kelly and Warren MacDonald of Darlington were also on hand to represent the largest and smallest community partners in the new facility.

A weekend of activities is planned to mark the opening of the $3.8 million center, ranging from a midget hockey game between the Cornwall Thunder and Charlottetown Islanders to a major variety concert and multiple sports demonstrations.

Keefe, chairman of Communities 13 Inc., the not-for-profit organization incorporated to construct, own and operate the facility, said the official opening was the culmination of a process that’s taken countless hours of work by many people.

But he says it was all worth it.

Keefe noted that when this process began in 1997, the only option on the table was how to keep the North River rink open.

"We originally looked at acquiring and renovating it," Keefe said. "Then some of the other communities suggested we look at an other option and that was a brand new facility.

The primary concern back then was an ice surface and communities also wanted a place for community events.

"We’ve now got everything we hoped for and a whole lot more," Keefe said.

"We’ve got our ice surface, we’ve got a gymnasium, we’ve got a 1,200-square foot multi-purpose room to host all manner of events, plus a couple of other rooms."

In addition to Cornwall and Darlington, the other members of Communities 13 Inc. include Afton, Clyde River, Kingston, Hampshire, Meadow Bank, Miltonvale Park, New Haven/Riverdale, North Wiltshire, Warren Grove, West River and Winsloe South.

The facility has already seen some usage.

Following completion of construction in April, the ice surface was used for three weeks. It was then taken out for mid-summer and was re-installed for a hockey school in August.

Other elements for the facility have also been used this summer.

Keefe said the reaction they’ve received from those who’ve made use of the facility has been very positive

"People are very pleased with it. It’s turned out to be a very accessible place. We believe this facility will be very well-utilized."

The APM Centre will be open year-round and the facility’s general manager, Donna Lank, says there will be a very full program of activities for people to take part in.

"We’ve had a lot of activity on the ice surface already and we expect to see a whole lot more. Once minor hockey starts, we’ll be going from 6 in the morning to midnight. On the gymnasium floor there will be basketball, wheelchair basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, badminton, aerobics. We’ve also been booked for a number of weddings and other events."

Lank says the fact the facility is equipped with a full kitchen enables community groups and organizations to book the space and hold banquets and fundraising dinners without having to add in the cost of a catering service.

"Our hope is that communities will make really good use of the space," Lank said.

She said while much interest has already been expressed, she believes the level of interest will increase once summer gives way to fall and people start to look once more at indoor activities.

Lank said the facility will be available for things like corporate Christmas parties, trade shows, conventions and other public events.

And with a seating capacity for 500, or 450 with tables there are few functions they can’t accommodate.

The construction of the APM Centre was financed by several partners under the Canada-PEI Infrastructure Program.

The federal government contributed $1.5 million, while the province contributed $500,000. A further $1 million came from 13 Communities Inc.

Fundraising efforts will account for a further $786,000 and to date $525,000 has been raised or pledged, some $86,000 of that from the community 50/50 lottery.

Easter said the funding negotiations for the facility were complex. The Malpeque MP said it was with great satisfaction that he watched the project develop because so many communities had played a part in it.

He said as well that it marked the end of an era for people of his generation who spent many happy hours at the old North River rink skating and playing hockey.

Media Contact: MediaReleases@apm.ca