A substantial upgrade to the dehumidification system at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre will enable it to better handle the weather brought on by all four seasons.

On April 19, Liberal MP Bill Casey announced the federal government would be contributing $277,400 toward the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund.

An additional $75,000 will be used to help cover off costs associated with hosting and marketing for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge in December. Ticket packages for that event have since gone on sale.

“Tourism is highlighted as one of the many opportunities that exist for Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada,” Casey told those in attendance. “Without facilities like this, we can’t look at increasing our tourism numbers. The events hosted at this facility bring people in whether it’s residents of Colchester County or visitors to the area.”

The total investment announced is $629,800 with the dehumidification upgrade costing $584,800 alone. The County of Colchester has kicked in $166,440 while the town of Truro will cover the remaining $140,960.

“It’s wonderful to work collaboratively with the federal government and town of Truro,” said Colchester County Mayor Christine Blair. “It truly makes it a lot easier for the town and county to handle issues surrounding the dehumidification system with this type of collaboration.”

The new system will be installed this summer. RECC General Manager Matt Moore doesn’t foresee any impact on the day-to-day schedule of the facility. He says it’s not an intrusive installation and most of the work will be done behind the scenes.

The company responsible for the installation has also offered to do work during the evening hours as well. In the end, the RECC will be equipped with a system that can better stand up to the quickly changing weather conditions experience in Nova Scotia.

“This upgrade carries an increased capacity,” said Moore. “With the trends we’ve seen in weather over the past number of years, it shows just how unpredictable it can be. It’s not uncommon for us today to have a window in January where it’s plus 10 and raining. To have a system with the capability to react and respond to those conditions is extremely important. This is a situation where our business has developed a little bit faster than the facility has. Now the building is catching up.”

The upgrade will also enable the community centre to host more events throughout the course of the year.

“This investment will greatly enhance the RECC’s ability to attract and deliver a wide variety of major event opportunities throughout all four seasons,” continued Moore. “The end result will reflect positive economic development for our community while further positioning our recreation and events facility amongst the top in Atlantic Canada.”

John Kelderman chairs the RECC’s board of directors. He says the upgrade will also allow the facility to operate more efficiently as a result.

“For our typical user, they likely won’t see a whole lot of change,” said Kelderman. “This late in the year, where the humidity can change so drastically in a short amount of time, under the current system it can be the difference between being able to host a hockey game or having to cancel it. The system just isn’t capable of handling the change and when that happens, it can definitely have a negative impact.

“It’s also important for the maintenance of our building,” Kelderman continued. “We have a lot of electronics in here and as most people are aware, humidity and electronics don’t mix. On the structural side of things, you have to worry about rust so an improved system is important here.”

Since it was constructed, the question of whether to leave the ice surface during the spring and summer months was always debated.

Now, the decision has been made a lot easier.

“In the past, we could book ice time in the summer but we were never sure what kind of issues the humidity would cause,” said Kelderman. “Now, we can leave the ice surface in and just cover it over when we’re hosting events like a trade show or conference. This enhances our ability to out during the summer months and market the ice for more events. We’re becoming known as a centre of events in Truro. This is a natural hub because everyone goes through here. If we can make this a go-to place, we all know what that can look like in terms of economic spinoffs.”