The fiasco with the Civic Auditorium has been one of the hottest topics of the past few months in the Energy City.
City Council's decision on Monday to reopen the doors pending insurance approval was welcomed by the user groups who advocated for such a move, and Estevan Minor Hockey representative Warren Waldegger shared his reaction.
"I think it's a good first step. There's obviously still work to do on the long term plan for the building but in the short term it's a positive first step."
He said that the next waypoint is just seeing the doors open, and they'd rather not focus on too far in the future until the long term plan is figured out.
"I think the city's got to decide that. The user groups are going to have to provide their input as to justifying a third ice surface in Estevan, and from there sit down with the appropriate objective of the Civic and decide what that looks like."
"The $5 million that has been floated around is a fictitious number, based on bringing that facility up to a 2200 seat capacity and like-new condition, and that is not the objective. The objective is to have a third ice surface in Estevan, and that has to be a fairly basic objective," Waldegger expressed.
He added that they weren't concerned about the safety observations brought up in the reports that were presented to council.
"That's been my point from the start, that I think that there was an over reaction to that initial report. I don't think it's as bad as it suggested, and I think that the Civic in general stacks up fairly well to it's peers around southeast Saskatchewan, and Saskatchewan in general. When we make decisions, whether short or long term, they need to be brought into context of what the objective is for that building."
Waldegger believes that, for a much smaller sum than suggested by council, the Civic could be repaired structurally for an indefinite period of time, with the electrical and mechanical being taken care of later on. The main objective that the user groups want, he said, is to have a third ice surface, not a multi purpose community center, for which role Affinity Place was designed to handle.
Aren Miller, a minor hockey coach, was happy at the thought that that the scheduling and extra process to get in practices may come to an end.
"We've been pretty lucky actually, we've been out in Torquay, so we were able to find ice time right away. The biggest thing is that it's just going to cut down on travel for the kids. Instead of having to leave right after school and parents scrambling around for that, it's going to make a lot of family's lives a lot easier having everything back in town."
"I understand that the City of Estevan has to do their due diligence, but I think Warren Waldegger and that group did a fantastic job showing how important that facility is to families in Estevan and people in the surrounding area. It caused a big headache for managing and scheduling with all sorts of people trying to find ice."
He noted that the small town rinks did benefit, however, as they saw a lot more use in that time period. That said, the weather has been ideal for travelling, and as it now takes a turn for the worse, council's vote couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
In addition, Miller said he is in favor of shutting down half the rink, and treating it as the small town ones, where the users take care of the facility and ensure it's operation.