Lisa Hines, the president of the Windsor Agricultural Society, shared a document outlining their initial proposal to build an arena and heritage museum complex at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds – which she says would cost taxpayers less overall.
“Our thoughts are that we can offer a facility or facility location without the added cost of infrastructure and accessing the site,” Hines said. “We have water, sewer, everything is right there off of a newly updated road with great access to the highway.”
The existing arena proposal, which is slated to be constructed near King’s-Edgehill School and the Dill Family Farm, has changed considerably since it was initially pitched, shrinking considerably in size and scope but not in costs.
“If the money available is put into the facility instead of the infrastructure, the taxpayers are going to get more bang for their buck,” Hines said. “Our site is ready to go.”
Hines said if the arena is built near Long Pond, roads and services, like sewers, will need significant upgrades to meet the demand, adding to the costs.
“It’s a great concept in theory, but at what cost?” she said.
What could an arena on Wentworth Road look like?
In the agricultural society's proposal, the arena and heritage centre would encompass existing infrastructure, such as the O’Brien Building, and a new arena facility.
“The O’Brien Building could be used as the museum, which could be 5,000 to 6,000 square feet,” she said. “There would be an annex off of that leading to the new arena.”
Hines said the proposal isn’t set in stone, saying they could adapt depending on what stakeholders want.
The agricultural society hasn’t contacted any of the government stakeholders yet, but Hines said they have sent a letter to the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society, which runs a museum out of the Haliburton House Museum in Windsor.
“It sounds like what (the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society) was promised initially isn’t what they’re getting at this point,” she said. “We’re open to talking about this.”
Hines said the exhibition grounds already receives, on average, 250,000 visitors each year.
Construction on the Hockey Heritage Centre needs to be completed by the fall of 2018, otherwise there will be no ice in Windsor as the town gave up its ice contract at the existing Hants County Exhibition Arena.