Councillor says town needs to look at fundraising, setting money aside for new arena

GORE BAY—While a new arena/complex is out of financial reach at the present time, a Gore Bay councillor said a local committee should be set up to look at fundraising for a new facility and that council should also be setting aside funds towards its construction in the long term.

Dan Osborne told fellow councillors at a meeting this past Monday that at a recent town general government committee meeting it was agreed that a new arena/complex is out of the town’s financial reach. However, it was agreed that proper inspections need to continue on the arena to ensure that it is in compliance and continue to maintain and upgrade the existing facility. “The idea brought up at the committee meeting was looking at how we can develop and build up the town. It was agreed we can’t afford a new arena or arena/complex at this time. I agree with this.”

“But we are never going to be able to afford a new arena unless we set aside money now for our share of the costs of a new facility,” Councillor Osborne told the Recorder after the meeting. “Maybe if fundraising is done and the town can put aside money every year, maybe we would have our share of the funds for the arena in 10 years and then can apply to the government for further support.”

“Maybe it will take 20 years but we should start by getting a committee together and look at fundraising,” Councillor Osborne told council.

“We talked about having someone do a feasibility study for a new arena/complex,” said Mayor Ron Lane. “We are obviously talking about a lot of money. And if we are looking at a new arena, we might also be looking at incorporating other things in it like a fitness centre.”

“Whatever it is­––whether it is just an arena or a full sports complex—we can dream big, and then deal with reality as to what we can afford in the future,” said Councillor Osborne. “But right now we can’t begin to dream because we have nothing put away in terms of funding.”

Mayor Lane said there is government funding available for arenas, noting the municipality of Central Manitoulin received funding last week from FedNor to undertake major repairs to its arena in Mindemoya.

“We spend thousands of dollars a year on the arena to maintain it, but someday it is going to die,” Councillor Osborne told the Recorder. “If we ever lost our arena it would probably impact families that are looking at moving to Gore Bay. We need to get people to open their minds on this issue and look at ways we can support a new arena. It seems the only way is to fundraise and set aside some money every year so that we can build a new arena in 10-20 years.”