Community remains divided
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.