Harper announces federal funding for civic centre project
TRURO - The dream has become a reality.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $10 million Thursday towards central Nova Scotia's long discussed civic centre on behalf of the federal government.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the Truro civic centre is now a reality," Defence Minister Peter MacKay said to a loud applause at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Centre. "As you can see, prime minister, we all like the sound of that, almost as much as we'll like the sound of excavators breaking ground."
Harper said the new facility would be a breeding ground for the next generation of hockey players.
"This modern facility will feature an NHL-size ice surface, with seating for 3,200 spectators to cheer on Truro's future draft picks," Harper said.
The nearly $50-million facility will also feature a walking track, aquatics centre, fitness centre, multi-purpose/professional space, community meeting space, a climbing wall and other amenities. Construction is expected to start this spring off of Exit 13 of Highway 102 and be complete in the fall of 2012.
The $10 million was the last big component of government funding that had not been announced.
"If it wasn't there we wouldn't be able to build it," Municipality of Colchester Mayor Bob Taylor said.
The county has committed $14.4 million, the Town of Truro $9.6 million and the provincial government $10 million. The remaining $5 million will be raised through fundraising in the community.
The idea of a regional civic centre started in 2004 during the region's bid for the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
"We all know the Games were awarded to Halifax, but the dream of a civic centre for Truro did not die," Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley M.P. Scott Armstrong said.
He noted the tireless efforts of Jon Stanfield, Duane Rath and their committee for keeping the project going. Both men, as well as a number of other steering committee members, attended the ceremony. About 80 people were invited to the announcement with many being staunch Conservative supporters.
MacKay said the facility will not be "just another municipal building."
"This will be a showcase for sport here in the Truro and surrounding area that has produced some incredible athletes," he said.
Harper was asked why it took so long for the federal government to make the announcement. He responded by congratulating Armstrong for how quickly he delivered the funding after being elected in November.
Armstrong later said the announcement was not slowed down, except for the summer provincial election and federal byelection.
"An announcement of this type has to go through several bureaucratic hurdles and those hurdles are put in place ... to make sure that taxpayers' money is spent wisely and effectively," he said.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills was already thinking about many years into the future.
"In the years ahead, when I am asked, how did we do this, let's just say 'well, we got by with a lot of help from our friends.'"