MANITOULIN – Both the Town of Gore Bay and the Municipality of Central Manitoulin have been denied funding from the federal government toward arena rehabilitation and renovations, and in the case of Central Manitoulin, for a new modern multiplex facility that would have amalgamated the municipality’s arena and community centre into one location in Mindemoya.
“On our application for funding under the Canada Infrastructure Program (CIP) for renovations of the arena, that we had applied for last November, we have been denied funding,” Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne told council at a meeting last week.
The town’s funding application had been made under the federal CIP’s cultural and recreation stream under the multi-purpose category. As had been previously reported, Tulloch Engineering had provided an estimate for renovations at the arena and a new chiller, with a preliminary estimated cost of $618,000 in total. This would have included repairs to the foundation walls including replacement of floor slabs, investigation into existing pier foundations, reinforcing the lobby roof, framing including new roofing and structural upgrades and roof repair where damages at the ice resurfacer and refrigeration plant have been uncovered. As well, council had passed a motion to apply for the funding under CIP for the renovations to the Gore Bay and Western Manitoulin Museum with a proposed budget of $68,400.
Mayor Osborne told the Recorder after the meeting, “the funding has been denied. We will have to wait for another round of funding and apply for it then.” He pointed out, “the arena is not going to fall down without this work—it can definitely still operate. But the roof has to be repaired by the (ice resurfacer) area and the dressing rooms, and a proposal is being put together for this work.”
“You can’t win them all when you make applications for funding,” said Mayor Osborne. “This will be another shelf-ready project to apply for funding when it becomes available again.”
Central Manitoulin Mayor Richard Stephens also shared the news about the funding being denied for the municipality toward a new complex and arena at a council meeting last week. “We’re not going to receive funding toward a new complex. After a lot of discussion we had made an application for the funding, and we had a team that made a presentation to the government. Originally we were to receive an announcement from the government in June, but due to COVID-19 this was delayed.”
Mayor Stephens pointed out Central Manitoulin received a letter from the government dated August 10, indicating due consideration was given to the project, but overall $1 billion in total had been set aside for projects and the government had received applications amounting to a total of $10 billion.
Councillor Steven Shaffer said that, “I wanted this issue on our agenda today because a lot of people did a lot of work toward this project, and now we have been informed the municipality will not receive the funding.”
“I would like to acknowledge the work that (councillor) Angela Johnston and her team did, to get the plans and application (for funding) in,” said Mayor Stephens. He said the municipality will now have to wait for the next funding opportunity to arise.
Mayor Stephens noted the property committee will now have to assess the municipality’s available assets and provide its recommendation on the best direction going forward, and said several members of the group will continue its work.
There was brief discussion about what this means to this year, in terms of programs like minor hockey and use of the municipality’s arenas in Mindemoya and Providence Bay.
“We are kind of fortunate that our season starts in November and we have time to look at minor hockey and other uses at the arenas and health requirements,” said Councillor Shaffer.
“That seems to be a good starting point,” said Mayor Stephens. “We did everything we thought we could. Now I guess we just wait for the next funding opportunity to arise.”