ANNIE SILVESTER/Bullet News
The Vale and Wellness Centre in Port Colborne officially opened its doors with a community celebration that kicked off on one of two NHL-sized rinks this weekend – and to say the soaring glass paneled building is impressive would be an understatement.
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The 145,000 sqaure-foot, $32-million dollar facility is also the home to a 25-metre lap-pool, leisure pool, indoor walking track, gymnasium, bocce courts, three baseball fields, a playground and even a recreational trail.
To celebrate the grand event local dignitaries gathered along with guest celebrities former NHL’ers Bob Nevin, Gary Leeman and Darryl Shannon to cut the ribbon at an official ceremony.
Afterwards over 1,000 locals enjoyed a first chance to tour the building, eat cake and participate in various activities that included a mayor’s hockey tournament.
Mayor Vance Badawey chatted with Bullet News after the ceremony saying the facility which houses 240 programs in partnership with the YMCA of Niagara and the City of Port Colborne will mean many things to the community.
“Firstly it will mean quality of life for the folks here in Port Colborne as well as the residents of the entire region of Niagara. It will also mean health and wellness.
“We’re really putting it forward as a new culture here in our community. We want people to get out, be active, be healthy and to really enjoy their time inside or outdoors with this facility and the different amenities it has.”
Badawey said the building and programs are truly set to make it “a community hub,” while sending out a message that “we have a balanced community.”
As part of acknowledging the healthy lifestyle initiative, a local family was honoured on opening day as winners of Port Colborne’s “Porticipation” Contest. The contest had entrants write in why they thought their family best embodied the healthy lifestyle values that the new centre represented.
Winners Kevin, Jennifer, Regan and Kyra Thompson were the lucky recipients who received one-year family membership to the YMCA and were part of the day’s ceremonies with a presentation of their award.
For more information about the centre visit: www.portcolborne.ca. Also see Bullet TV this week for video highlights.