Construction begins on new Dieppe arena to replace aging Centennial Centre

CTV Atlantic

It’s been a long wait, but excavation is finally underway at the new arena in Dieppe that will replace the aging Centennial Center.

The new “inter-generational” project, set to open in the fall of 2020, was estimated to cost $29 million, but has since been increased to a cost of $31.6 million.

Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre says that the hopes were to begin construction this past spring, but with funding delayed; the cost of goods needed for construction have increased.

“The cost of many products required for construction, whether it’s wood or steel, have had cost increases of anywhere from 22 to 28 per cent,” said Lapierre.

The new arena will feature two ice surfaces, an indoor track, a greenhouse and a community kitchen space, and city officials are calling it the perfect opportunity to increase sports tourism in the area.

 “The opportunities for hosting ringette, hockey tournaments; the extra ice surface will definitely help,” said Raymond Bourque, from the City of Dieppe.

The old Centenntial Area has been a part of the community since 1967, and many residents say it is time for an upgrade.

“We’ve gone to the Centennial once, found it really old, not very nice facility, so we just never went back, so I think it’s really needed,” said local resident, Cynthia Holt.

But others disagree; they call the city’s decision to commit $10 million, along with funding from all levels of government, an unnecessary attempt to keep up with neighbouring Moncton, where a new arena just completed construction.

“They want the same thing as Moncton, it shouldn’t be a competition,” said Catherin Reed.

Mayor Lapiette disputes these arguments, he says that it isn’t about competition; it’s a need for more ice space.

“We already have a lot of our citizens that go out of town for their ice activities and they’re not happy about that,” Lapiette said.

The Centennial arena will be demolished next spring, and the name for the new area is set to be revealed later this month.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kate Walker.