The City of Charlottetown took another step towards trying to find money to help build a multi-use sports and entertainment complex.
City council voted 8-0 at its June public meeting to appoint councillors Terry Bernard, Alanna Jankov and Greg Rivard to the new Charlottetown multi-use facility funding model subcommittee.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel and Coun. Greg Rivard each had a previous commitment and had to leave the meeting before the vote.
Mayor Philip Brown said the idea to create the subcommittee came from a discussion that took place at the strategic priorities and intergovernmental affairs committee level.
Essentially, the new committee wants to take a look at available funding after being told by the federal government that a large arena project doesn’t qualify for Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) funding, a signed agreement between the province and the federal government.
The city has applied for $19.5 million under ICIP to replace the Simmons Sport Centre and Cody Banks Arena but was told a major arena project wouldn’t qualify because it would house professional or semi-professional sports teams, namely basketball’s Island Storm and hockey’s Charlottetown Islanders.
“They will look at a strategy of how to go forward, but the crucial part to this multi-sports and entertainment centre is finding the funding."
- Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown
Behind the scenes, some councillors have been left scratching their heads because Moncton’s Avenir Centre was built with federal funding, as was Summerside’s Credit Union Place.
In other words, if the ICIP program can’t help, they figure there must be another federal program to access funds.
In addition to the three councillors, three staff members from the city corporation will work on the subcommittee. They’re expected to have information back to council by January.
“One of the main goals of this task force will be to find or determine funding,’’ Brown said.
Brown can understand that the ICIP funding is geared only at community rinks so cities can’t access funding to build a new arena for an NHL team, for example.
So, Brown recently brought a resolution forward at the Atlantic Mayors Congress that Charlottetown should not be penalized because the Storm and Islanders play out of the city’s largest arena.
The province isn’t about to commit any money to a new arena in Charlottetown until the federal government does.
“They will look at a strategy of how to go forward, but the crucial part to this multi-sports and entertainment centre is finding the funding,’’ Brown said.