Dysart Barn closed for foreseeable

TERRANCE GAVAN – SHRIKE EDITOR – Once upon a time there was a venerable old arena in a small town.
Long ago it was hailed as a state-of-the-art municipal hub.

A home to dreams.

A place where young boys went to outreach their meager talents.

Where every practice was Game Seven of a Stanley Cup final.

Where Bobby Orr and Bobby Baun and Bobby Hull flew down wings on wings of an child’s mainipulative imagery.

Dreams grow up. And so do the young men.

But the arena stays the same.

Smell of hot dogs and bad coffee and the sounds of old men consternating over who scored what goal on some day back when the old Barn shouldered effervescent demands of a community dedicated to hockey and figure skating and an upstairs dance and karate dojo.

The old Barn has seen days and nights of worthy toil.

Dysart Arena is closed this week and although she is known by this hack for a mere decade of her 50 year – give or take – paradigm, she has already ingrained herself in my flippant synapse, glittering ironic in the shadow of old cinder blocks and enchanted by the likes of Duchene, Nichols and Stackhouse, just three of those dreamers whose dreams of the show materialized.

Hodgson was due to join the stars on cinderblock this summer, but he will not.

The old Dysart Barn is dead for the foreseeable.

No contingency except for a reeve’s, deputy reeve’s and a council’s strident notes that the skeleton is extant. “IT IS ALIVE!”

So they will gut the body, they say – couched of course in rosier terms – and attempt to resurrect the brick to life, like a zombie dragging its own useless carcass on a wilting frame. Dysart Barn gone horror flick in the wink of an eye.

So Dysart et al is Mary Shelley, playing the Doctor to whatever Frankenstein some engineer or landscape architect sees fit to gerrymander from that sorry cindered cobbled corpse. How long do cement blocks last? According to Murray Fearrey? Another 50 years… or so. Who cares though? Not council. Apparently.

People will go hungry in Haliburton this winter. No hockey tournaments means no beds rented, no meals bought in restaurants and no shoppers in the desperate shoulder seas0n.

Jobs will ebb and Dysart et al council will procrastinate – in the way that Dysart does – on the end product. No new arena says the braintrust. Thus spoke. It will soon be painted as if on some commemorative stones – commandments brought from the mount.

Council will go about their business and they will attempt to outlast this storm as they have in the past.

I was at a council meeting about three years ago – reporting for this or that paper – when Public Works Superintendant Brian Nicholson told council that the old barn would be looking at repairs upwards of $800,000. In the next five years. Mandated. No doubt.

I think Nicholson was truly saddened by the news. I also believe that he was reminding council that a body was on life support and it needed tending.

At that time I truly believed that council would mandate a capital project fund and put someone on a grant-seeking path.

But, nada.

Now we have Angelica Blenich from the Haliburton Echo reporting on Reeve Murray Fearrey’s announcement this week that the old Barn needs repairs.

The facility upgrades are necessary as substantial leaks are causing brine to seep into the ground, said Fearrey.

“We have identified some leaks in the floor, we thought we had that repaired but now others have sprung up,” said Fearrey.

A fluid used in large refrigeration installations, brine is a hazard to the environment and therefore the leaks must be repaired immediately. There is 7,000 feet of pipe located under the arena floor that must be replaced.

The leaks are a result of the age of the arena system, as it is 45 years old and worn out, according to the reeve. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][more…]

Now this explanation might hold water if some cataclysmic event – say and earthquake – had shook the foundation of this fair hamlet.

But no such luck for reeve and council.

We knew and it was reported in one of our local papers that these repairs were mandated at least three years ago.

The fact that the reeve and council saw fit to ignore such a hefty project until now speaks to incompetence, disinterest or stupidity;  or d) All of the above. You all may pick em. There are no wrong answers.

I knew. Mr. Nicholson knew; and the people who read the paper knew; that a total retrofit was on the way.

This is not a chance leak Mr. Reeve.

It is a matter of record that this arena was in need of huge infrastructure repairs years ago.

I’m writing an email to Laurie Scott and Barry Devolin.

We think you should too.