Arena project not dead, says Tweel
Reports surrounding the supposed death of a new multi-use sports and entertainment complex in Charlottetown have been greatly exaggerated, says Coun. Mitchell Tweel.
Tweel is not only chairman of the city’s parks and recreation committee but he’s also the city’s representative on the multi-use sports and entertainment complex task force.
The Guardian ran an editorial saying the project was all but dead after Mayor Philip Brown said a major arena is not on the city’s wish list of capital projects this year because it doesn’t qualify for funding under the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).
Then, Charlottetown MP Sean Casey confirmed the news, explaining that ICIP won’t contribute funding to a facility that houses a professional basketball team and a major junior hockey team because the presence of those teams makes the arena a forprofit operation.
Tweel said it’s old news. “The federal government made it quite clear… a year and a half ago… it was not funding facilities of that magnitude,’’ Tweel said Friday.
Many had hoped a new arena could be built in time for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, which P.E.I. is hosting, just like Eastlink Centre was built for the 1991 Canada Winter Games.
Tweel said it would be wrong to rush it.
“We can’t be constrained by a time frame and just rush it out and build a facility because the Canada Games (are coming). That’s where you make mistakes.’’
Tweel said a new arena needs to be built in the right location and built the right way.
“We’ve got to get it right the first time. Where (Eastlink Centre) was built, that was the wrong location, it was the wrong facility with at least 1,000 deficiencies. If it was constructed right the first time in the right location we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.’’