Six days from now last year, Queens Place Emera Centre in Liverpool opened its doors for the first time. Three days later on Dec. 19, the recreational facility had its grand opening.
© File photo
Garry Zwicker, from the Nova Scotia Guild of Town Criers, welcomes the audience to Queens Place during its official opening. The facility has been open for one year.
Neil Raymond, general manager of the facility, says despite any amount of planning before Queens Place opened, it took having people there to determine what might and might not work.
“The easy one is fitness classes – always,” says Meaghan Roberts.
“You can sit down and say, ‘These classes would be really great,’ and you run them and nobody signs up.”
Roberts says it’s crucial to always talk to people to find out what they want.
Another example, says Raymond, is the walking track. Because the track is a multi-use one, people have had to learn to accommodate each other.
A little less than a year after opening, Queens Place hosted four events last month, including two big hockey games, CTV’s Live at 5 and the Nova Scotia Music Week Gala.
Behind the scenes
As general manager of Queens Place, Raymond does a variety of jobs, such as dealing with the public, doing sales and marketing, and budgeting.
Raymond has a background in coaching hockey, he’s owned a business, and he’s been a sales and marketing manager.
Roberts is a program coordinator. Some of her job entails being in the fitness centre.
“But I’m also in charge of all the programming or helping Neil,” says Roberts.
She and Raymond often work together. Roberts does advertising and helps Raymond with marketing and event planning. Roberts got involved in the field by taking a recreation and management degree at Dalhousie University. Working for the Region of Queens, Roberts developed the physical-activity strategy, and she did all the programming.
Fitness attendants are in charge of personal training, running fitness classes and helping guests.
Steve Burns and his family use the fitness centre, walking track and they go to events at Queens Place.
“Hockey games, music week, anything that’s going on,” says the Sobeys manager about what he and his family attend.
Burns says it’s evident that over the next few years Queens Place is going to grow and become an “economic driver.” Queens is already known as an arts and culture community, he says.
David Clattenburg, president of the Queens County Blades Skating Club, is mostly involved with the arena. He says before Queens Place, figure skaters used Queens Memorial Arena, which was demolished in the autumn.
The club couldn’t host big events at the old arena because of the size and facility. Last March, the Blades hosted provincials, says Clattenburg.
This year, the club may host provincials or sectionals.
“It’s absolutely marvelous, from the beginners right up through to our older senior group,” says Clattenburg.
“The parents love being able to come to the arena and not freeze.”
In about a year from now Raymond says he sees Queens Place being able to expand some of the centre’s alternative uses.
“We’d like to move to bringing some more events in, in the summer time,” he says.
He says doing that would take more community involvement from local organizations.