Windsor's new Hockey Heritage Centre still awaits federal funding
Long Pond Arena Society says requested $6M from federal government 'may not be possible'
A planned hockey heritage museum and sports facility in Windsor, N.S. — the town which claims to be the birthplace of the sport — may have to go back to the drawing board as requested federal funding may be less than expected.
The Long Pond Arena Society asked the federal government for $6 million to help pay for a facility to commemorate the area's significance to the hockey world, which would include two ice pads, soccer pitches, and a walking track.
"Under the programs, they [the feds] have right now … we have to work within those guidelines and the $6 million may not be possible," said committee president Greg Kelley.
West Hants Deputy Warden Gary Cochrane says the facility could be downsized to only one ice pad.
"We'll have to redo the drawings and find out what will be included in this facility," he said. "This committee is still committed."
Staying 'onside fiscally'
The committee has secured $3 million from the province, and $1 million each from the Town of Windsor, the Municipality of West Hants, and the private institution King's-Edgehill School — where the bulk of the facility will be built.
From the proposed site, Cochrane says "you can almost throw a rock to Long Pond," considered by many to be where the first games of hockey were played.
Kelley says if the project needs to be tailored based on funding, they have backup plans.
"Right from the start, we've always had in mind that if we needed to, we can change a little bit of it in order to make sure we can stay onside fiscally," he said.
'It's hard to keep track of it'
Cochrane says the project has blown past several deadlines to break ground, including the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016. For other West Hants councillors, the project has been muddied by a lack of communication for some time.
"It's hard to keep track of it," said Councillor Randy Matheson, adding that the planned location should be moved closer to Highway 101 for better access.
"In my estimation this is just an obtuse way to give King's-Edgehill public money," he said. "[It's] certainly not palatable to the public."
The committee is under pressure to complete the facility before 2018, Cochrane says, when the existing Windsor arena will be closed.
"It is frustrating," he said. "Otherwise the people of the area will be in the same situation they were last winter —transporting children and even adults outside of Hants County to enjoy the sport they love."