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Windsor council nixes moving forward with Long Pond arena project proposal

Updated renderings of the proposed hockey arena project were shown to members of the public during a public information session on March 19, 2018.
Updated renderings of the proposed hockey arena project were shown to members of the public during a public information session on March 19, 2018. The project is now cancelled. - Contributed

WINDSOR, N.S. — For many it was a dream, for others it was boondoggle, and in the end, it's nothing. At least for the time being.

In dramatic fashion, Windsor Mayor Allen gave a statement during a special session of council on Aug. 7 followed by a recommendation to council to cancel the town’s application to the province to build a new arena project near Long Pond.

Allen said it was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do as mayor.

Deputy Mayor Laurie Murley made the motion to end the application, which was passed unanimously, essentially terminating the proposal, which has seen many ups and downs in the past five years.

The motion cited funding shortfalls, saying the town wouldn’t be able to build the facility they desired for $9 million. The province remained firm in its earlier commitment of $3 million, instead of increasing it to allow for the building of a $12.5 million facility.

And with West Hants council contemplating withdrawing its $1 million in support of the project, that was the last straw.

“The last shot was when West Hants started talking about withdrawing the $1 million, and our own fundraising chair sat in the audience at our last meeting and said they probably couldn’t get that extra $1 million,” Allen said following the special council meeting.

“Those who supported this project clearly had a vision for it, which wasn’t shared by everybody, which is fine,” she said. “I think because of the climate, there are people who are so divided over this, they’re not friends anymore; that’s pretty sad.”

During her statement, Allen cited a negative campaign being “mounted by a select group of people.”

Allen said it no longer made sense to continue pushing the project and the people of the community on this issue.

For now, Allen said council will focus its attention on the consolidation effort with West Hants.

Read More:

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$12.5 million hockey facility pitched to Windsor residents

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New fundraising deadline for Long Pond Hockey Arena puts goal in range – CAO

Windsor's proposed Long Pond arena receives $25k boost from hockey heritage society

Windsor puts $6.9 million Long Pond Heritage Arena project on hold until Aug. 7 meeting

Coun. John Bregante made a motion to redirect the $1 million the town had previously committed for an arena toward a hockey heritage effort of some form yet to be determined.

The chief administrative officer Louis Coutinho will present a report to council at a later date for how to achieve that goal.

That motion passed without objection.

“There are many opportunities for hockey heritage, and we’ve already heard some ideas on that, but I think we need to take a serious look at what is really doable,” Allen said.

The existing Hants County Exhibition Arena, which is aging and in need of major maintenance, will remain in use for the time being, but Allen said a future combined Windsor-West Hants council may need to figure things out for that piece of infrastructure as an ice surface.

Earlier in the day West Hants council was meeting in camera with legal council, possibly to determine whether or not they could withdraw their $1 million commitment, which would be spread over five years. Windsor’s motion now makes that discussion moot, as there is no project to fund.

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