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West Hants council approves extra funding for indoor soccer facility

An artistic rendering of a proposed arena project at the Hants County Exhibition grounds that West Hants council will vote whether or not to approve on Aug. 21
An artistic rendering of a proposed arena project at the Hants County Exhibition grounds. - Submitted

WENTWORTH CREEK, N.S. — West Hants council has approved an extra $800,000 in funding towards the new combined hockey arena-indoor soccer field facility, with those funds incumbent on other partners coming onboard.

Now it’s up to the province and subsequently the federal government, to decide whether or not the expanded sports facility will be built.

If additional funding isn’t approved, West Hants will return to their original plan of constructing a new arena only, with the potential of adding on in the years to come.

All councillors voted in favour of the increase except for Coun. Jennifer Daniels, who said she wanted more time to evaluate the expanded facility to see if it fits within the municipality’s goals.

“I feel this is a little too knee-jerk,” Daniels said at the Sept. 4 meeting.

“We’re adding a second phase already without some thought and consideration for tax implications and other projects that are already on the table,” she continued.

“I can’t support this additional $800,000 until we go back and take a look at our strategy.”

Chief administrative officer Martin Laycock said the municipality’s capital budget highlights the next five years’ worth of capital projects on the books.

Coun. Kathy Monroe said she was supportive of the motion because it makes more sense economically.

“This motion is just an opportunity to go after these funds,” she said. “We still have a whole planning session to go through, nothing is cast in concrete until we know that we’ve got the money.”

Laycock said the province needs the municipality to make changes to the original proposal to reflect the change in funding.

“We’re adding an additional $2.4 million project; I just need to show that in the financials,” Laycock said. “Originally it was a $10.6 million project, so obviously we’re now adding to that, so we have to show the right amounts in the revised plan.”

Laycock said he has been in preliminary discussions with the province.

“We submit an application, it’s up to the province to submit that on to Infrastructure Canada, and then they’ll decide whether or not they want to fund it,” he said. “They might come back with a pile of questions for me. At the end of the day, I need to get something in.”

Committees struck

Council also approved two committees to deal with the sports facility — design and fundraising.

Councillors Tanya Leopold and David Keith were elected to the design committee and councillor Debbie Francis and Warden Abraham Zebian were appointed to the fundraising committee.

Citizens who wish to be on the committees are asked to send in their applications to the municipality. Two citizen members will sit on each committee.

  1. will also sit on the design committee, with director of finance Carlee Lowe on the fundraising committee.

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