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Iqaluit aquatic centre's Ottawa funding rejected

The proposed $40-million aquatic centre meant to replace Iqaluit's aging swimming pool will have to get funding from outside Ottawa, after a request for federal money fell through this week.

City hoped federal government would help with $40M project

The proposed $40-million aquatic centre meant to replace Iqaluit's aging swimming pool will have to get funding from outside Ottawa, after a request for federal money fell through this week.

The City of Iqaluit had been banking on the government to foot 25 per cent of the costs to build the much-needed recreation facility, but the city's director of recreation, Amy Elgersma, said those plans were denied.

"We were quite excited about the possibility of using the funding that's available in this project," Elgersma said, adding that the city already spent $50,000 on its application to the P3 Canada public infrastructure program.

The head of the P3 Canada agency, which contributes to public-private partnerships, blamed the federal government this week for dropping recreation centres from the funding program.

Elgersma said she was disappointed to learn the news, as the city had tried hard to meet the criteria for P3 Canada.

However, she said she was confident the Iqaluit project would proceed on time if adequate funding can be secured elsewhere.

Iqaluit city council set a goal to construct its new swimming pool by 2013. An indoor soccer complex, fitness centre and other recreation facilities are also planned.

"As long as there's another program, then we'll be on track, but we do need support from the other levels of government," Elgersma said.

A local fundraising committee has raised $90,000 so far, with their ultimate goal set at $3 million.

With a population of close to 7,000, Iqaluit is one of Canada's smallest capital cities but is quickly growing in size, prompting calls for more recreation facilities.