Nova Scotia

Membertou unveils plans for new arena

The Membertou First Nation in Sydney, N.S. has unveiled plans for a mulit-million dollar sports arena.

The Membertou First Nation in Sydney, N.S. has unveiled plans for a multi-million dollar sports arena.

It will be called the Membertou Sports and Wellness Centre, said Dan Christmas, the senior advisor to the Membertou band.

A model on display at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre features two ice rinks, a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

For now, Christmas said the project is still a dream, but by the end of this year, the community hopes to have a firm plan for how to pay for it.

"The big challenge now is to raise $18 million to build it, but we're pretty optimistic it's possible," said Christmas.

Christmas said the Cape Breton Regional Municipality needs for more ice surfaces.

Pam Reid, executive director of the Cape Breton County Minor Hockey Association, agrees.

She said the league has 600 kids playing hockey on half a dozen local rinks right now who are always looking for additional ice time.

"The gentlemen's leagues start some nights when we could still be offering our minor hockey program. And on some weekends when there's tournaments and what not, our regular program doesn't have any ice, then we're at a loss for ice and always looking for extra," said Reid.

Christmas said a consultant is doing a detailed study now of the costs of building and running the new rink.

He expects those results later this year.

He said Membertou will then put together a pitch to take to the three levels of government for help in building the project.