Com­mu­nity re­mains di­vided

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

de­lay,” — would de­ter­mine the best site from an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment point of view.

“All of a sud­den we have to have a study on this, and I don’t get that, but I guess that’s how pol­i­tics go. It’s too bad,” she said, but added that en­sur­ing tax­payer’s dol­lars are sent wisely is a pri­or­ity.

Whether coun­cil would con­sider re-ne­go­ti­at­ing its ice con­tract with the Hants Ex­hi­bi­tion Arena hasn’t been dis­cussed, she said, but couldn’t imag­ine that date chang­ing.

“Coun­cil was out of the rink busi­ness, if I un­der­stand that cor­rectly from the for­mer mo­tion,” she said. “This new fa­cil­ity is not a rink, it’s a hockey heritage cen­tre that hap­pens to have a rink.”

But what if the new hockey heritage cen­tre, which in­cludes a rink, isn’t built in time for the 2018-2019 ice sea­son?

“It’s hap­pened be­fore. Peo­ple look­ing for ice time were di­verted to Sackville, Bed­ford, Kentville, wher­ever. Peo­ple have made ar­range­ments. It’s not a good op­tion but it cer­tainly is out there,” she said. House,” she said. “One of the top is­sues dur­ing the last cam­paign was to re­vi­tal­ize down­town Wind­sor and I can tell you for decades I’ve heard, ‘ you need to bring peo­ple down­town.’ This is it. This is an eco­nomic gen­er­a­tor be­cause it would draw peo­ple here.”

Build­ing the heritage arena at the Hants County Ex­hi­bi­tion grounds wouldn’t ben­e­fit Wind­sor’s down­town core, she added.

“If (this) fa­cil­ity is once again on a fringe de­vel­op­ment area, that’s sta­tus quo, it doesn’t change a thing for the down­town,” she said. “It’s worse, as a mat­ter of fact, be­cause it’ll take the Hockey Heritage Mu­seum with them. If they do that, then we don’t even have peo­ple com­ing to see the mu­seum down­town.”

The Hants County Ex­hi­bi­tion Grounds is lo­cated within the Town of Wind­sor lim­its.

The agri­cul­tural so­ci­ety’s pro­posed build­ing a new heritage arena and po­ten­tially in­cor­po­rat­ing ex­ist­ing build­ings on its prop­erty for $9 million, split be­tween the three lev­els of govern­ment – about $3 million less than the Long Pond pro­posal.

“It’s big­ger than sav­ing money, which I don’t nec­es­sar­ily be­lieve by the way. It’s a much big­ger pic­ture,” Allen said. “We need that foot traf­fic through down­town, we have a trail that could bring peo­ple right up through a nice lit­tle walk, by the Hal­ibur­ton prop­erty. This means so much to the town. The lo­ca­tion of that fa­cil­ity has to be down­town.”

She said if ev­ery­one can come to­gether, King’s-Edge­hill School may want to part­ner on the project again.

Allen said the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture up­grades, if the fa­cil­ity is built at Long Pond, wouldn’t be­come a ma­jor bur­den on the town.

“We do have un­der­ground in­fra­struc­ture in place, it has to be ex­panded some, but it doesn’t have to be re­placed,” she said. “King’s-Edge­hill have of­fered two en­trances, and there will be cost to up­grad­ing those two roads. Col­lege Road, for the Town of Wind­sor, has been on the list for up­grades for a long time. There is a plan in place for that, but that has noth­ing to do with this fa­cil­ity, so that cost is not as­so­ci­ated with this.”

Allen ac­knowl­edged that the project has be­come a heated de­bate in the com­mu­nity, say­ing “it’s brought a dark cloud” over the town.

“We haven’t had a project this large in decades. We haven’t had any­thing great hap­pen in this com­mu­nity in a long time. It’s been ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to move for­ward on some­thing like this when the com­mu­nity is di­vided.”

Allen is try­ing to look 50 years ahead.

“As elected of­fi­cials, we are try­ing to do the best for our com­mu­nity, and that’s what we’re try­ing to do,” she said. “When you have oth­ers that think dif­fer­ently, who aren’t elected, then it re­ally throws a wrench in the process.” King’s-Edge­hill School, con­firmed dur­ing an in­ter­view that their with­drawal of sup­port in­cludes the $1 million con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the project.

Sea­gram also said the with­drawal in­cludes use of KES ac­cess roads, grounds and prop­erty, at least for the time be­ing.

“We’re with­draw­ing any kind of sup­port at this point in time,” Sea­gram said. “We’re just step­ping away. We don’t want any­one to ever again mis­con­strue this as a King’s-Edge­hill School project... It is a com­mu­nity based project.”

Un­til the study was done and the lo­ca­tion of the heritage cen­tre de­ter­mined, he couldn’t spec­u­late if the school would re-join the ini­tia­tive.

“I sus­pect that once there is a vi­sion, a project, one in which the busi­nesses of this com­mu­nity and the cit­i­zens can gal­va­nize, then of course we’ll do what we can,” he added.

Sea­gram hasn’t seen the Wind­sor Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety pro­posal, but said if it would only re­quire fund­ing from the three lev­els of govern­ment, a di­rect fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion from KES wouldn’t be needed.

“We would be ten­ants, just like mi­nor hockey or Avon View (High School) or any other or­ga­ni­za­tion,” he said. “It would be our home and I’m sure it would be gor­geous, just like the Brook­lyn arena is gor­geous.”

Sea­gram said KES wouldn’t con­sider build­ing its own arena ex­clu­sively for its stu­dents if an­other arena is built in town.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.