Province contributes $10M to civic centre

Jason Malloy
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Province contributes $10M to civic centre

TRURO - Colchester County's regional civic centre is $10 million closer to reality after Premier Rodney MacDonald dropped off a sizable cheque on Monday.
"This is a tremendous day for the people
of Truro and Colchester County," MacDonald said following his address to about 70 people, including municipal councillors, recreation officials and civic centre committee members.
"This brings the recreational facilities to a whole other level for this region."
The project is anticipated to cost $35.5 million, including $2.4 million for upgrades to Colchester Legion Stadium, and include an NHL-sized ice surface, seating for more than 2,500 people, a pool and a walking track among other amenities.
The idea of such a project has long been discussed and caught fire as the central piece to the region's bid to host the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
After the Games were awarded to Halifax, work continued behind the scenes to have the centre become reality. The province's $10-million commitment has given the project momentum.
"This is certainly a great foundation to move forward," Truro Mayor Bill Mills said following the announcement.
"I think everything is lining up very good and I'm very optimistic that we're going to see something happening within the next year as far as the ground breaking is concerned."
The addition of a civic centre will bring Colchester County in line with other communities such as Springhill, Yarmouth, Port Hawkesbury, Antigonish and Summerside, which all have new facilities.
The centre is expected to enable the region to host medium-sized conferences, entertainment acts and make the region a destination point.
"Our civic centre project will be more than just another rink or pool," said Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor. "It will become the place for our community to gather, a place where we can promote active living."
The civic centre became an oft-delayed project as the town and county could not agree on specific components.
The premier told the two sides this summer it was time to co-operate or the funding could go elsewhere.
While MacDonald never placed a deadline on getting things in order, he said, there was a "strong indication" the project needed to move forward. "That message was taken seriously and we see the result of it today," Mills said.
The civic centre's proposed location is across Abenaki Road from the new hospital site.
"We're waiting word from the province; first if it's available and what the price tag is going to be," Taylor said.
MacDonald was non-committal when asked if it would offer the land free of charge.
"I'll leave that for another day," he said.
Another big component missing from the project is federal funding.
Jon Stanfield, the civic centre committee's fundraising chairman, said it would be
meeting with MPs Bill Casey and Peter
MacKay, ACOA minister, about funding for the project.
"As soon as the application is made I know it will receive every consideration. There is a lot of precedent set for projects like this," said Casey, Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP.
Stanfield said a capital fundraising campaign is likely to start in the spring.
The county and town will split the municipal funding component, 60 to 40 per cent, respectively.
MacDonald said the province's $10 million is the maximum it would provide.
The provincial money is coming from
the B-FIT program, which was introduced in 2007 and will invest $68 million during 10 years to construct sport and recreation infrastructure.

jmalloy@trurodaily.com

Organizations: NHL

Geographic location: Colchester County, Colchester Legion Stadium, Canada Port Hawkesbury Summerside Abenaki Road Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley

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Recent comments

  • Flip
    January 18, 2010 - 10:14

    I disagree, Eastend Boy. Mike Smith was the one who was pressing to get this whole thing done in the first place. Mayor Mills' ego was the only stumbling block. Now, that the province is chipping in with a big fat paycheck, Mills is acting as though it was he who wanted this all along.

  • Eastend Boy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:12

    Now that Mike Smith is gone from the local political scene things are coming together. That guy was the reason the Town and County couldn't get this going a year ago. Good redence.

  • Mr. Ref
    January 18, 2010 - 10:07

    1. A horrible location. They should use the old hospital location which is in an ideal spot for everything they want this facility to be. Accessible from the highway for those coming into town, close to the downtown core to stimulate business, close to the swimming pool which is already adequate for Truro's needs.

    2. They should build two ice sheets and not one. The area needs more ice time and it will quickly fill if there is only one sheet built.

  • John
    January 18, 2010 - 09:59

    This is great. With Rodney getting things rolling it will be interesting to see how quickly other partners can get on board. The property next to the new hospital looks ideal for both the town and those coming to Truro to use the facility. Again, Rodney is right, build it and they will come.

  • Just Me
    January 18, 2010 - 09:52

    This sounds like a wonderful facility and will probably be put to excellent use. However, why can't we have more money put into our highways? Here we are going into winter with great big deep potholes and what will that be like come spring? Our highways are a necessity and should be taken care of before something like this that isn't a necessity.

  • Concerned
    January 18, 2010 - 09:49

    Amen to that Eastend

  • B
    January 18, 2010 - 09:42

    Great idea, lousy location. How are people, espeically kids and those without transportation supposed to get there? With the environment a pressing concern and green mobility a logical solution, make it easy in future developments by choosing a more central location for building.