After years of planning, the construction of the long-awaited Central Carleton Community Complex could begin in Hartland within months.
In a virtual press conference over Zoom Thursday morning, April 28, town, provincial and federal officials announced infrastructure funding for the modern new facility to replace the aging Hartland Arena.
With $3.5 million in federal funds and $2.9 million from the province, Lee Patterson, Hartland councillor and long-time chair of the community complex funding committee, said he hopes to see shovels in the ground and construction underway within the next two months. He estimated construction would take approximately 18 months.
While acknowledging COVID and other inflation pressures drove up costs since the project plans began, Patterson said finances are in place to complete the project. He said the fundraising committee continues to see financial support roll in, and the town secured approval from the Capital Borrowing Board to help fund the board.
Thursday’s announcement said the town’s estimated contribution is $2,4 million of the projected $9-million complex.
Mayor Tracey DeMerchant expressed delight and gratitude that the long-awaited project is now a reality.
“The Central Carleton Community Complex will be a cornerstone of our new community for current and future generations to enjoy for decades to come,” she said. “We are ecstatic to tell our residents that it is now official; after years of planning, we are starting to build our new complex this spring. We thank everyone who helped us get here, from leaders in the federal and provincial governments to the dedicated members of our complex committee, to our extraordinary local supporters and donors.”
Carleton MLA and Public Safety Minister Bill Hogan represented the province at the announcement on behalf of Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman, the minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation.
“This is an important project for the residents of Hartland and of the entire region,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Hogan. “This project is the culmination of a lot of hard work and tremendous support from area residents, the private sector and all three levels of government.”
He described infrastructure projects like the one in Hartland as an essential part of building “vibrant and sustainable futures.”
Like himself, Hogan pointed out that Crossman is a former school principal.
“He understands the importance of having facilities where youth can gather, play sports and stay on a path towards a healthy future,” said Hogan.
Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin participated in the announcement on behalf of federal Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Dominic LeBlanc. The federal government invested its $3.6-million contribution through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
“Whether it be for a hockey game or for a few laps around the walking track with a friend, sports and recreation infrastructure enables community members to get together, socialize and have fun,” she said. “These spaces bring us closer and lead to a healthier, more resilient community. The new Central Carleton Community Complex will be a place for residents of all ages to connect with one another and stay ative for generations to come.”
DeMerchant said the Hartland Arena served the community well for several decades but noted anyone who visited the facility over the past few years knows it ran its lifespan.
The complex, built behind the existing arena, will include an ice surface, a walking track, an exercise room, dressing rooms, and storage space for recreational and programming materials.
The Hartland mayor noted it took many years to reach this moment, thanking previous councils and the dedicated efforts of volunteers from Hartland and surrounding communities. She also thanked the area’s federal and provincial representatives, singling out Hogan’s predecessor Stewart Fairgrieve and former Carleton-Victoria MLA Andrew Harvey.
DeMerchant and Hogan noted Fairgrieve, who now serves as Hartland deputy mayor, took part in announcing a $2.9-million provincial funding commitment in the summer of 2020.
“To say this is a big day would be a big day for Hartland would be an understatement,” said DeMerchent.
She described it as “a milestone event for our community.”
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun