Life is about to get a whole lot brighter for skaters at Pearkes arena.
The federal government and Saanich have committed $56,000 each toward a $112,000 lighting upgrade to the Gold and Green ice rinks, and lobby of Pearkes Recreation Centre.
“The feedback we’ve received over the years has been consistent, ‘good ice but poor light,’” said Kelli-Ann Armstrong, manager of Saanich recreation services.
The energy-efficient lighting system will include motion sensors. The upgrade is the latest greening of Pearkes, which recently acquired an electric Zamboni.
The federal portion comes from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, which approved Saanich’s application. Saanich performed an assessment of most of its facilities and found the biggest “bang for the buck” would be the lights of Pearkes.
“By improving facilities such as this we are helping to boost economic activity and maintain a high quality of life for Canadians,” Lynne Yelich, minister of state for western economic diversification said at the funding announcement at Pearkes on Wednesday.
The Saanich Braves junior B hockey team, which has played under the “old school” lighting of Pearkes for 45 years, stands to benefit as much as any of the many user groups, as it draws a regular crowd of 100 to 300 fans.
“We are hoping to bring the Cyclone Taylor Cup (B.C. junior B championship) to Saanich for 2016 and this will help us tremendously,” said Braves GM and co-owner Norm Kelly.
It’s safe to say the Saanich Tigers minor lacrosse association will also appreciate added lighting, as the summer sport plays without the added reflection of an ice surface.
“The new lighting is going to change the entire complexion of the rink. It’s going to improve not only the on-ice experience (for skaters) but for fans attending our games and other events,” Kelly said.
Saanich plans to begin the project in January 2013 and finish by March.