What's not to love about Deuville's Rink in Salmon River?
Initially constructed as an outdoor rink in 1958, Deuville's has served as a recreational mecca for boys and girls, men and women, for two generations. Actual numbers aren't available, but there must be thousands of Colchester County residents who first learned to skate there. And six years ago it was selected as the site of the first Hockeyville in a national Kraft contest.
Yes, that makes Deuville's Rink a community icon in our books and normally we wouldn't have batted an eye when Colchester County council recently instructed staff to find a way around municipal rules in order to provide funding aid for the 54-year-old rink.
There's just one problem. Deuville's Rink is privately owned. It's owner, Ellery Deuville, requires almost $50,000 for fire code upgrades, in part because of rental units located above the rink, in order to keep the building open.
He's reluctant to borrow the money because, well, he's rapidly approaching retirement age and he doesn't want to take the financial risk.
Deuville acknowledges that he could raise the required funds by increasing the ice-time fees he charges to minor hockey players who use the rink. But he believes the Town of Truro and the county are receiving the benefit of his rink by not having to construct another ice facility to accommodate the overflow of young hockey players in the area.
On that count we might argue that the new civic centre will more than offset any increase in local ice-time demands, at least for the foreseeable future, but that's an argument for another day.
Meanwhile, councillors are in a bit of a conundrum.
How can they, for example, break their own rules and say yes to Deuville's Rink request while at the same time say no to another worthy community fixture such as the not-for-profit Marigold Cultural Centre? After all, not every youngster plays hockey or ball hockey.
Councillor Bill Masters says that: "Every once in a while you have to throw the rules out the window. I know this is the right thing to do."
Maybe he's right. We trust, however, that council, and through it the public, is allowed access to Deuville's financials before any money is handed out. To do otherwise would be irresponsible.