Stompin' Tom Connors project's fate rests with ACOA

Plans for a Stompin' Tom Connors commemoration project in western P.E.I. that were put on hold may be back on track with a "scaled-down proposal."

'We're just trying to keep this project on the rails'

Plans for an interpretive centre in Tignish to commemorate the late Stompin' Tom Connors may be back on track.

Plans for a  Stompin' Tom Connors commemoration project in western P.E.I. that were put on hold may be back on track.

Anne Arsenault with Tignish Initiatives — the community development organization behind the Skinners Pond project — said the group has submitted a "scaled-down" proposal to ACOA and is awaiting a response.

"I guess the size, the scope and the budget would be scaled back," she said.

We're just trying to keep this project on the rails.— Anne Arsenault, Tignish Initiatives

Initial plans unveiled in July called for a $1.9 million centre that was to include $350,000 in funding from Heritage Canada. However, that funding was denied in November, when officials with Heritage Canada rejected the funding application because the Canadian Cultural Spaces Funding is earmarked for arts or heritage organizations, and Tignish Initiatives is neither.

"It was a bit of a technicality," Arsenault said at the time.

"Tignish Initiatives is a community development organization, and although we didn't have a strict mandate of heritage and culture, we have played a very important role in the community since our establishment in 1993," she said.

Connors was rarely seen without his signature black cowboy hat and stomping cowboy boots.

A new proposal has now been submitted, and although Arsenault would not divulge details such as the budget or scale, she did say the group is asking for less money, as the original amount promised by ACOA "would no longer be available."

The project was to commemorate the life and legacy of the Canadian singing icon, who died in 2013 at the age of 77. The centre was to include Stompin' Tom's boyhood home and school, plus a 4,000-square-foot multi-use cultural centre. It was slated to open on July 1, 2016.

The new plan still includes the school, but Arsenault gave no other details. 

'We're just trying to keep this project on the rails," she said.

'The main components of the interpretation and that sort of thing are basically still intact."

With files from Maggie Brown and Steve Bruce

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