I personally believe that Ryde has the possibility through a Ryde Ice Rink and a Ryde Skateboard Park we could have future World and Olympic champions from future generations. We need to believe and invest in a post-Covid19 world in our young people’s aspirations and potential. We owe them that commitment.
I wish to send a message to all residents members of RACAG (Ryde Arena and Community Action Group – Ryde Arena Community Action Group (racag.org) ) that I have been since 2016 and will be totally committed to seeing an Ice Rink in Ryde reopen in the next 4 years whether at Ryde Arena or at Smallbrook Stadium. I am also totally committed to seeing a new Ryde Skateboard Park on the Esplanade to replace the existing one which needs repair. The last year has seen our whole lives and the lives of our children change with Covid19 but out of this IW Skaters are getting back to training on the mainland. In the last 4 years the IW skaters and ice hockey players have kept their dreams alive and in my eyes are real heroines and heroes. We need to get back post-Covid19 to reignite the fight to get Ryde’s Ice Rink back and reopened.
The current situation as I see it is:
- Ryde Arena – IW Council legal action failed and AEW and IW Council are now not in talks. I have requested an up-to-date report on what the IW Council plans for the Arena and the Esplanade. Ryde Town Council and I want to see Ryde Arena, Esplanade, Ryde Skateboard Park, Harbour, Eastern Gardens, Canoe Lake, and Waterside Pool to be only a community, sports and leisure area for residents and visitors/tourists alike. Ryde Town Council has successfully recently negotiated the transfer of the Harbour and Eastern Gardens from IW Council and discussing long-term leases or freehold transfer of Ryde Skateboard Park and land around the harbour. The Chair of RTC Finance, Phil Jordan, has started to talk to AEW direct to open negotiations about the Arena building which RTC is committed to see brought back into Sport/Leisure use. RTC in the past 12 months has implemented a strategy to borrow finance to purchase important empty and derelict buildings to invest in getting them reopened for community benefit. Buildings purchased have included St. Thomas Church for a new Ryde youth centre and Vectis Hall. RTC is in negotiation with owners of Ryde Theatre and Town Hall and has obtained funding from Historic England to have a full feasibility study and prepare for major grants. Ryde Arena is a targeted building. Ryde Town Council has successfully gained funding for a Ryde Kick-Start Programme from the Government to create job/work placement opportunities for young people aged 18-24. Some of these placements will enable young people to be actively involved in these building projects.
2. Proposed Ice-Rink and Tennis Centre at Smallbrook Stadium – This proposal has conditional planning permission and pre-Covid19 had been progressing but sadly like many projects it has been delayed due to Lockdown. There needs to be a review now on the future of the project and I will request Ryde Town and IW Councils to meet with the project leaders for a full up-date and a plan to move forward.
I and 8 other Ryde residents have formed Our Ryde (www.ourryde.org ) and standing for 9 of the 16 RTC Council seats. Our principal aim is to build on the last 12 months of proactive action in not waiting for IW Council but put power back into the hands of local residents and find solutions not barriers. Young People, bringing back empty buildings for community use, and supporting physical and mental-being facilities such as Waterside Pool and RACAG are a priority.