We are seeing article after article in The Advertiser and Sunday Mail about how the Ice Factor program for disadvantaged kids will close if a private investor builds the Playford Arena at Elizabeth. We are told nobody supports it. We are told the process was flawed. We are told it is in the wrong spot.One voice continues to be heard over everyone else.
The Playford Arena and City South Ice Rink projects are supported by Ice Hockey SA, Ice Hockey Australia, Broomball Australia, Sport Climbing SA, Australian Olympic Committee, Winter Olympic Institute of Australia, Recreational Ice Sports Association of SA and many others. This has been conveniently left out of all articles in The Advertiser and Sunday Mail to date (not to mention Today Tonight on Channel 7). It appears that nobody else has had the opportunity to share their views and support for the project.
The investor behind the proposal has consistently guaranteed a future for the Ice Factor program at the Playford Arena. There is also a proposal for an inner south rink under development, which will mean broader access for more participants across Adelaide.
But there is so much more at stake in South Australia than just the Ice Factor program. Ice hockey, Broomball, and figure skating need to be part of this conversation too. South Australia is currently the only mainland state without an Olympic size rink. The one rink we do have is facing a couple of key challenges. Firstly, ageing infrastructure - a challenge faced by many sports arenas the world over as their facilities age. Secondly it has a finite lease of approximately 5 years left.
The REAL FEAR amongst all ice sports participants, including the young people involved in Ice Factor who are currently being used as a political football, is that SA will end up with no rink at all. It is up to ALL the ice sports clubs and associations to work together to make sure that doesn’t happen. This development is providing us with that opportunity and it is beyond comprehension that we are not collectively grasping it with all we have got.