Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Arena funding decision delayed

Chatham-Kent will have to wait a few more months to find out about potential funding for a proposed twin-pad arena and multisport complex in Chatham-Kent.

Don Shropshire, the CAO for Chatham-Kent, said at Monday night’s Council meeting the February timeline to learn about the approvals from the provincial government is being delayed.

“We received notice approximately two weeks ago that the provincial government had received $11-billion worth of requests for funding and they have approximately $1-billion to distribute,” Shropshire said.

“As a result of their over subscription we’re told that they were delaying the provincial consideration for the applications until July 2020.”

Shropshire added: “We did not receive either a denial or a confirmation of our application. That’s the best information that we have to date.”

The approvals from the province would then be forwarded to the Federal government, Shropshire added.

“What we’ve been told by the provincial government is the sequencing of the approval process will remain the same,” he said.

“We would expect sometime after July, with the original sequencing that we were told, that would be two months following the provincial approval. We’d be targeting somewhere in September for Federal approval.”

Chatham Councillor Doug Sulman, who raised the questions about the project during the non-agenda business portion of Monday’s meeting, said the $11-billion worth of project applications isn’t a big shock.

“That surely doesn’t come as a surprise that is was over subscribed,” Sulman said.

Sulman also asked for an update to be brought forward to Council for their July 20, 2020 regular/planning meeting.

The plan for a new twin-pad arena and multisport complex in Chatham-Kent moved forward on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Council approved replacing Chatham Memorial Arena and Erickson Arena with a twin pad and an Indoor Multisport Community Centre.

The maximum municipal contribution was set at $18.5-million, with investments in servicing and traffic mitigation costs not included.

The project construction will commence only when funding from the higher levels government is confirmed.

Council approved that upon completion of the construction of the new facility, both Memorial and Erickson Arenas will be closed, re-purposed, divested, or potentially demolished.

Council also directed administration to secure land options to accommodate the project along with an incremental 60 acres for outdoor sports fields for baseball, rugby, hockey, cricket and soccer.

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