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Oval funding partner to be announced

An announcement on the future of the skating oval on the Halifax Common is expected Saturday.

A funding announcement that could influence the fate of the skating oval on the Halifax Common is expected Saturday.

The Save the Oval Association says it has secured another funding partner willing to put money into a long-term facility.

CBC News has learned the sponsor is pledging more than $400,000 to efforts to save the oval, which had been scheduled to be dismantled.

Emera Inc. has been in talks with Halifax Regional Municipality about the project, but there is no word on whether the company is involved in tomorrow's announcement.

The donor will be revealed at 10:30 a.m. local time at the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame. The World Figure Skating Legacy Fund and Molson Coors Canada have already made significant commitments to the project.

Molson Coors has committed a total of $400,000 towards the project. The Worlds Legacy Fund is ready to donate $100,000 left over from the world figure skating championships held in Halifax in 1990.

Dr. John Gillis, the group's fundraising co-ordinator, said Save the Oval has been working for the last several months to build a coalition of support to ensure the facility is saved.

"The large donation which will be announced Saturday is amazing by itself, but even more impressive as it reflects the willingness of two corporate entities to work together for the best interest of the community," Gillis said in a news release.

The association claims the oval has the support of 84 per cent of the community. It's hoped Saturday's funding announcement will persuade council the oval is important and viable, president Andrew Feenstra said.

The original plan was to dismantle the track and distribute the equipment to various facilities around Nova Scotia, but public support for keeping the oval has given municipal politicians pause.

A staff report is scheduled to go to regional council next week with recommendations on long-term options for the oval's future. The annual cost to operate the facility for a year has been estimated at $250,000.

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