Beauval eyes new arena

Neil Laliberte (left) tries to straighten a post as Julian Alcrow (right) hammers it into place Aug. 31 in Beauval. The two were building an outdoor rink at the football field beside Valley View School because the community is still without a hockey rink following April’s fire that left the building in ruins. The rink should allow hockey to continue in the village.

By Mac Christie

A burned-out shell is all that remains of the Beauval Arena, torched by fire in late April, but the community has started a drive to bring a facility back to the area.

Thus far, the village’s fundraising has netted about $5,000 to put toward a new building, through three poker rallies and a dinner sale.

Although the building was insured, Beauval mayor Fred Roy said it won’t be enough to cover a new one.

“We wanted to start making at least a little bit of money to get the ball rolling for the facility,” said Roy. “We know we’ll have to fundraise for any type of facility we do decide to build.”

The type of facility is still a question that hasn’t been answered, although a planning committee is discussing options.

Roy noted choices being looked at include having a multi-purpose gymnasium attached to the arena, as well as office space and a possibly a curling rink.

“Offices are one thing we’re seriously looking at,” Roy added. “Maybe even moving the village office there and having some for rent. There’s even talk of a bowling alley.”

But in the meantime the village has been left without its social centre.

Velma Roy, in charge of the fundraising effort for the facility, said the community is struggling without a place to hold events.

“We don’t have anywhere to hold a wake,” she noted. “We have the church meeting room, but it only seats a hundred people, or less.”

A location for dances and weddings has also been a problem, and while they had been using the Valley View school gym for weddings, Velma said with school starting, that’s no longer an option.

However other communities like Ile-a-la Crosse have offered their facilities for Beauval’s use for dances and the like, but Velma said they haven’t taken them up on it yet.

But there may soon be a local option to hold events, even without a new arena.

Valley View School is planning on opening a community kitchen, something Principal Arlene Hansen said could be used to hold functions.

It will be located in the school and will also be used to teach a cooking class. Hansen said the school hopes to have it open by January 2012 and construction is expected to start in the next few weeks.

“We want people from the community to come into the school,” she noted. “This is our way of helping out.”

The community recently started construction on an outdoor rink at the football field beside Valley View.

The NHL-sized rink will have boards and a sand base, and could provide a place for the area’s minor hockey teams to practice.

Recreation director Kim Felske said teams would have to travel elsewhere to play games.

Neil Laliberte who was building the rink said it’s very important for the community to have an ice rink.

“That’s what people do around here” he said, “play hockey.”

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