Northern Development Approves $250,000 for the new ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ recreation centre

March 17, 2015

The Hazeltons will soon be home to a new recreation centre thanks in part to financial support from Northern Development.

The ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project (also known as the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre) is a two-phase initiative to build a recreation centre with a proposed completion date of April 2017.

At its most recent board meeting, Northern Development approved a $250,000 grant to support the development of the project. The Upper Skeena Recreation Centre will be built on the same site as the existing Ken Trombley Arena, enabling community members to continue using it until construction is complete.

The recreation centre is being built to promote more active, healthy lifestyles for residents who live in and around New Hazelton, Hazelton and the surrounding communities. The existing 42-year-old arena has exceeded its functional lifespan. With no insulation and a failing exterior cladding, the ice surface at the existing arena is no longer maintainable.

As well, the new recreation centre will become the communities’ primary venue for attracting tournaments and other events that will support the local economy.

Phase one of the project includes a 3,575 square metre facility, which can accommodate seating for 500 spectators. Phase one will also include the construction of dressing rooms, referee rooms, administration offices, a first aid room, a rental room, maintenance/storage areas, mechanical/electrical spaces, a kitchen concession, public washrooms, a viewing/banquet area, as well as a ticketing/entrance/concourse area.

Phase two of the ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project is to remove the existing A-frame roof structure over the current ice sheet portion of the building and replace it with a new wall/roof structure above the repurposed floor space. Proposed amenities include a gymnasium and dry floor area, circular indoor walking track, fitness/exercise centre, climbing wall, senior centre space and meeting rooms.

Funding for the ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project was approved through Northern Development’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program. This program provides up to $250,000 in funding for municipalities, regional districts, First Nations and non-profit organizations in Northern Development’s service area for projects that significantly strengthen the local economy via a major capital investment.

Once other funding sources are secured, construction on the project is expected to begin in spring 2016.


District of New Hazelton Mayor Gail Lowry –
“Northern Development has made a critically important contribution to the building of a much needed recreation centre for the Hazeltons, a contribution which will have an impact beyond recreation and will extend to improvements in the physical and mental health of the whole region.”

Village of Hazelton Mayor Alice Maitland –
“The investment by Northern Development is strategically essential for the success of the project, and will advance the Heart of the Hazeltons fundraising efforts and assist in addressing employment and economic development issues that have long challenged the region.”

Quick Facts
• Northern Development approved $250,000 for the ‘Heart of the Hazeltons’ project, through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program
• A 2007 structural condition report recommended the existing Ken Trombley Arena discontinue operations in 2013
• The arena is proposed to be built primarily of wood, consistent with the Wood First Act, brought into legislation in B.C. in 2009, which requires wood to be considered as the primary building material in all new publicly-funded buildings
• The community has forecast additional revenues of $1,436,530 over the first five years of operation of the new arena. The revenues are proposed to be generated through facility rentals, admissions, program registration, skate sharpening, banquet and community room rentals, commissary, advertising and vending machines
• Last year, Northern Development approved 19 projects through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program, with a combined total funding commitment of $3,848,083.


Joel McKay,
Director, Communications,
Northern Development Initiative Trust