05 January 2019 0 Comments Posted By : Natalia Goodwin

Charlottetown makes proposals to fix community arena problems

The City of Charlottetown is proposing replacing Simmons and Cody Banks arenas and is looking for funding from other levels of government. Both have been flagged as aging structures needing repairs.

The city has applied for money through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, a program through the federal government where project costs are shared by the federal and provincial governments along with the municipality. 

Coun. Mitch Tweel, chair of the parks and recreation committee, said this plan would not necessarily replace the push for a new civic centre. 

"We should be dealing with our most immediate priority and immediate concern," he said. 

"This facility here is approximately 44 years old and because it's 44 years old, it's reached its life span and the facility needs a lot of work when it comes to the mechanics and the structure.... It's time we deal with those deficiencies."

City proposals

There are several different proposals being submitted by the city. The first is a new twin pad arena with two 200 by 85 foot ice pads, which would replace Cody Banks and Simmons arenas.

Each would have a 500-seat capacity, along with dressing and referee rooms. The building would also hold community meeting rooms and an indoor walking track.

The estimated cost for the project is around $19.5 million. About $6.2 million would come from the province and $7.4 million from the federal government, leaving the city to contribute about $5.8 million. 

Mitch Tweel, chair of the parks and recreation committee, says he would like to see the new arena at the current Simmons site. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

The second project is a new swimming pool to be built at the existing Simmons site. That would cost $1.3 million with $412,000 coming from the city.  

Another proposal is for an artificial turf field at the Simmons location that would accommodate a variety of field sports including cricket. That would come at a price tag of $3.6 million with the city contributing $1.1 million. 

Tweel said the turf field would give athletes "an opportunity to play their respective sports a lot longer into the season and be able to combat the weather elements." 

Project prioritization

The city has sent in dozens of applications over several funding streams of the federal program. The arena, swimming pool and turf field fall under the recreation stream and are three of eight proposals the city is making.

Those proposals have to be listed in a priority sequence. The city has the arena on the top of its list followed by the pool, with the turf field as the lowest priority of the eight proposals.

That prioritization could effect which projects get money.

The next step is for the province to decide which proposals it will fund. Tweel didn't have a timeline for when those decisions would be made. 

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