By Christopher Gooding
WENTWORTH - Participants and fans of the 2010 Junior Nationals and the 2011 Canada Winter Games will receive a warm welcome when they arrive.
Almost $87,000 was announced by the federal government yesterday for renovations and upgrades to the Wentworth Community Centre and a 130 year-old schoolhouse in anticipation of the coming athletes, coaches, planners, spectators and media to witness the Alpine Downhill skiing events at Ski Wentworth.
The community centre will see the development of a wheelchair accessible entrance and furbishing of meeting rooms and storage in the centre's basement, while the retired school house will given a modern foundation and brought up to code.
"Projects such as these build on established community assets that will stand the test of time for generations to come," Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong said.
More than 27,000 athletes are expected to compete in the Canada Games, Armstrong said, and downhill skiing, one of the more popular events during the Winter Games, will take place in Wentworth.
In addition to the federal funding, the province and the Municipality of Cumberland County are also funding partners.
"It's really exciting Wentworth is hosting some of these events and today's announcement ensures the community will shine," Lenore Zann, Truro-Bible Hill MLA and Ministerial Assistant for the Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage, said.
The funding announcements mirrored the community's enthusiasm to play host to the games. Betty Currie, who sits on the committees responsible for the centre and the schoolhouse, has lived in Wentworth all of her life and says the funding announcements are will help the community put its best foot forward.
"Never in my life would I think Wentworth would be honored with the Canada Games," Currie said. "It's a dream come true. We don't know what we're facing yet, but it's wonderful."
The big winner at yesterday's announcement, however, was the community of Pugwash, who received a commitment of $250,000 from the government for the structural restoration and stabilization of the Cyrus Eaton Building, also known as Thinker's Lodge.
Designated a place of national historical importance, the province and county are kicking in $50,000 towards that project.
"This is the first phase of very basic structural restorations, Cumberland Regional Economic Development's Rhonda Kelly said.
The estate was home to talks designed to limit the nuclear arms race, known as the Pugwash Conference, in 1957, which received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. The long-term forecast for the building is to have it designated a place of world historical importance, Kelly said, as well as enhancing the number of conferences and visitors that come to the area.
By Christopher Gooding