Membertou arena, shopping complex construction moves ahead

The Cape Breton First Nations community of Membertou is expanding its business opportunities with two major projects, one to open this summer and the other in 2018.

$19M sports complex with two NHL-sized rinks to open this summer, shopping centre in 2018

Membertou First Nation is building a $19-million sports complex that will include two NHL-sized rinks. (George Mortimer/CBC)

The Cape Breton First Nations community of Membertou is expanding its business opportunities with two major projects, one to open this summer and the other in 2018.

Construction started in the summer of 2015 on a $19-million sports complex. It will house two NHL-sized rinks, a wellness centre and a walking track.

"Right now, the roof is being completed and the fitness centre is under construction and the interior is well under way," said Membertou senior adviser Dan Christmas.

"We're hoping to open in late June early July, and begin commissioning the ice sometime in the month of July."

Christmas said preliminary construction will start this summer on a major retail complex, Churchill Crossing, located directly across Highway 125 from Membertou. It will include a mix of big box stores, smaller retailers and other facilities. Road access to the location is already complete.

Christmas said Membertou is already receiving proposals from companies that want to locate there.

Both projects are aimed at increasing the small community's business sector, he said, bringing people to Membertou for recreation and shopping. It will also increase employment opportunities.