Construction on Dieppe's $31M UNIplex moves inside

Construction on Dieppe's new UNIplex is moving to interior work, since the $31-million facility is now enclosed.

The arena will include two NHL-size ice surfaces, a greenhouse, community kitchen and meeting rooms, as well as a walking track.

Mayor Yvon Lapierre said the building is on budget and on schedule to open next fall.

The project has been in the works for a long time.

"At least going back 10 years we started talking about the need for additional ice surface to accommodate our baby boom and our baby boom is continuing, so I'm pretty proud to see what's happened so far," he said.

Kate Letterick/CBC News

Lapierre said 18 different groups were involved in the consultation process to come up with a centre that's intergenerational.

"There was a lot of good ideas, a lot of good suggestions with everybody from the golden age associations to kindergarten to obviously all the sports oriented," said Lapierre. "But also everybody, anybody that had anything to do with this community. " 

Project manager Jason Nadeau said consultation was key.

"We said dream. Let's put something on paper on what you want to see in your complex and we're happy to see that nothing was cut down." 

Pierre Fournier/CBC News

That includes a community kitchen and a window-filled greenhouse.

"We're going to see a greenhouse which is pretty unique, I guess, in Atlantic Canada, even in the whole country, so the greenhouse will have some programs for all the kids." Nadeau said.

"Twenty-five per cent of all of our produce will go to food banks, local food banks. We're really happy about that, and I'm sure the local food banks will for sure be happy also."

Lapierre said an arena like this is a logical step for a growing community.

Kate Letterick/CBC News

"I think it's a real new start for the community in terms of stepping up to the fact that we're now 27,000 residents in this community," he said. "We're not the little town we once were. We've grown quite a bit and I think it's part of growing up."  

He said the work now turns to mechanical, electrical and finishing work. 

The federal and provincial governments committed a combined $16.8 million toward the project.

Pierre Fournier/CBC News

Go Dieppe, a volunteer group, is raising $4.25 million to help pay for the building.

Lapierre said $3 million has been raised, and he's hoping the fundraising will be completed in three months.

UNI Financial Cooperation spent $1 million for the building's naming rights.