Lakeshore still waiting on $17M for new arena
Ottawa is expected to make decision on arena funding in two weeks
Lakeshore is going ahead with a new recreation complex.
It's doing so with the hope Ottawa will contribute $17 million toward the project.
The province and municipality have already committed their shares.
Plans for the $55-million project include three ice rinks, a dance studio, pool, gymnasium and library.
Ice time is hard to come by in Lakeshore.
Town officials say the two ice pads at the Belle River Arena are always booked.
Steve Salmons, the town's director of community and development services, said a new, larger facility is a must for a community with a population on the rise.
"If we want the kind of labour force, if we want the kind of residents and the kind of industry - the modern, contemporary industry looking for high-skilled, high-information, youthful population - we have to have these facilities to attract that population and to retain that population here in Lakeshore," Salmons said.
Salmons says a decision on the federal grant is expected in two weeks. If it's a go, construction could begin next month.
For now, parents such as Lorne Strong, are going the distance to make sure their kids get extra ice time.
"Belle River Minor Hockey has had to rent ice time elsewhere, Essex being one of them, and it's always challenging because nobody wants to get up at 6 a.m. for ice time," Strong said.
Todd Shoemaker, the town's manager of parks, recreation and facilities, said the current arena is only designed to be used six months per year.
"We are now, sometimes, eight and nine months with this rink and we need more off time in order for the frost underground to go away so that we don't have the issues with the heaving that we have right now," he said.