PEI

Charlottetown wants rules changed for federal funding to build multi-use sports facility

The City of Charlottetown is trying to get the rules of a federal funding stream changed in order to make a multi-use sports facility a reality.

City wants funding rules altered to allow sports teams such as Storm and Islanders at facilities

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown has asked the Atlantic Mayors Congress to lobby the federal government to make changes to the recreation stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

The city of Charlottetown is trying to get the rules of a federal funding stream changed in order to make a multi-use sports facility a reality.

At a special meeting of council Monday, a resolution was passed to ask the Atlantic Mayors Congress and the Federation of Municipalities to lobby the federal government to make the change.

Under the recreation stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, municipalities are ineligible for funding to construct new arenas if the facility is used by professional or semi-professional teams such as the Charlottetown Islanders or Island Storm.

The city has been working on a multi-use facility for years, putting together a task force in 2016 that suggested building a new arena to replace the aging Eastlink Centre, and possibly replace both Simmons arena and Cody Banks arena.

That new facility came with a cost of around $80 million. The city hasn't been able to secure the federal funding needed because of the sports team rule, and the province would have to chip in too. Under the ICIP, the funding has to be three-tiered.

'Not going off course'

The city has applied for funding under the ICIP to replace Cody Banks and Simmons. Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown, who was at the meeting of the Atlantic Mayors Congress in Halifax on Thursday, said that application would still stand even if the change to the program was made.

"We're not going off course with rebuilding our local infrastructure for arenas. That's the priority. This will be the second step or third step in dealing with a multi-use sports entertainment centre," he said.

"This will not replace the current project that we're looking at, and that is a twin pad or a tri-pad to replace Simmons and Cody Banks. This is just in a stage of planning that we're looking at for the city of Charlottetown over the next two to four years."

The next step is for the Atlantic Mayors Congress to debate and vote on whether to support the proposal. Then it will be brought to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for approval before being presented to the federal government.

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