The Big Dream
The Oval’s Big Dream – A Community Recreation Facility with a focus on a temperature Controlled 400-metre speed skating Oval.
The Oval Board has paid for an engineered set of project plans complete with the many studies needed to obtain the building permit required to complete the Oval Project.
The completed Oval Facility will include:
- an outdoor, temperature-controlled 400-metre speed skating track providing a world-class ice surface from mid-November to March each season
- a concrete track suitable for in-line skating during the spring, summer, and fall
- a hub and parking for community walking, biking and cross-country ski trails
The adjacent Community Recreation Building will include:
- a banquet hall overlooking the track
- a community exercise training facility
- Public washrooms and changing rooms
- storage space for the ice-making and trail maintenance equipment
The Oval’s Business Plan established that it is possible to create a facility that does not require ongoing government support from any level of government to operate. Taxpayers are already hard-pressed to pay for essential services. So, the Oval is designed to provide this unique public recreation facility without requiring any tax dollars to underwrite its ongoing operational expenses.
The Oval Board submitted several well-researched, professionally prepared applications for support from both the federal and provincial governments for the capital dollars needed to build the Oval. These applications required strong advocates to be successful – political representatives from every government level, who believed in, understood, and officially supported the Oval Project. This one-of-a-kind facility requires strong and committed local advocates to overcome the inevitable objections from bureaucrats who are more accustomed to funding municipally owned recreation facilities.
To date, none of the funding applications have been successful. The Oval Board remains hopeful that the original concept’s strength and the ever-increasing amount of community use will result in a more effective level of political support in the future.
In the meantime, the Oval Board continues to operate this unique community recreation facility without any financial contribution from any government level. Instead, the financial support of individual donors and a great group of local sponsors combined with the Oval’s volunteers’ ongoing efforts allows the Oval Project every year to make some progress towards the final goal. And every winter, this community effort continues to provide the Lakefield community with the opportunity to enjoy a truly unique outdoor skating experience at the Ontario Speed Skating Oval.