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West Hants to commit an additional $800k to arena facility

A preliminary floor plan for West Hants’ hockey arena/indoor soccer facility. Initially planned to be built in two phases, West Hants is now considering building the entire facility at once, if other levels of government help with funding.
A preliminary floor plan for West Hants’ hockey arena/indoor soccer facility. Initially planned to be built in two phases, West Hants is now considering building the entire facility at once, if other levels of government help with funding. - Contributed

Funding increase incumbent on provincial and federal contribution to help build indoor soccer field

WINDSOR, N.S. - Sure, hockey is great, but why not soccer too?

West Hants council voted to potentially increase their financial commitment of a hockey arena project to include an adjacent indoor soccer surface during their committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 28.

The plan means West Hants could be throwing in an additional $800,000 into the project, with the hope that the provincial and federal governments will follow suit with matching funds.

It’s anticipated council will ratify that decision during a special meeting of council scheduled for Sept. 4, 2018.

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Committees will be struck to handle the facility’s design and fundraising.

Both committees will have two members of council, two members of public and one municipal staff member.

An artistic rendering of a proposed arena project at the Hants County Exhibition grounds.
An artistic rendering of a proposed arena project at the Hants County Exhibition grounds.

West Hants Warden Abraham Zebian said the increase in funding is incumbent on other levels of government also contributing additional funds.

“Our goal is to leverage more matching funds to do the whole complex at once,” Zebian said in an interview. “We believe it’s more economical to build the walking track around the soccer field rather than the rink.”

Zebian said building the entire facility at once, rather than in phases, would make more sense for the facility’s design and fundraising.

“This will allow council to shift the design of the project in a way that makes more sense and is more cost effective,” he said.

Zebian said that if funding from other levels of government doesn’t come through, council would stick to their original plan of building a new hockey arena at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds with the potential of building the soccer component at a later date.

Council voted 8-2 in favour of the new plan, with all but councillors Jennifer Daniels and Rupert Jannasch in favour.

Zebian said he’s hopeful that the $800,000 in additional funds can come from fundraising.

“There’s going to be a very strong push for fundraising. Indoor athletics opens things up to other groups like soccer, lacrosse, indoor concerts,” he said. “It’s the possibility for more.”

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