It's a sign of hope and what may soon await residents of Hartland and surrounding communities. Last week, Hartland public works and recreation crews erected signs at the entrances to the aging Hartland Arena, heralding the arrival of the long-awaited Central Carleton Community Complex.
While funding for the estimated $9-million structure is not fully secured, Hartland officials expressed confidence construction could begin soon.
Newly elected Mayor Tracey DeMerchant, the long-time member of Hartland councils that pushed hard to fulfill its dreams to build a new multi-use complex to serve the region, the new sign is indeed a sign of great news around the corner.
As mayor, she said, it just reaffirms what she believes to be true. "Things are on the upswing for Hartland and surrounding communities," she said. "We are feeling very positive."
Hartland CAO David Hutten expressed hope work can begin soon enough to take advantage of the current construction season.
Hutten said the sign reflects the town's partnership with surrounding local service districts, where residents overwhelmingly voted to support a tax levy to help finance the construction and operation of the complex. Next to the Hartland logo sits the names of the LSD communities of Brighton, Coldstream, Simonds, Somerville and Wakefield.
The provincial government under Premier Blaine Higgs announced a commitment of funds and is working with the federal government to secure final funding. However, the town still awaits an official announcement.
During a virtual press conference in March announcing funding agreements for expanding the Northern Carleton Civic Centre in Florenceville-Bristol, Dominic Leblanc, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, said the federal and provincial governments are actively working to finalize funding in Hartland.
LeBlanc said the system for such infrastructure projects see Hartland create the application and submit it to the province to review. The provincial government then sends it to the federal government.
Once the process is complete, LeBlanc expressed confidence, "we would look favourably upon it."
Both DeMerchant and Hutten believe that announcement is coming soon, adding the project's successful fundraising committee continues to secure financial support from local businesses and residents.
"The Central Carleton Community Complex committee has never wavered in its dedication to this project," DeMerchant said. "Fundraising is still active, and all necessary steps to get shovels in the ground are taking place.
"The wheels keep turning,"
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun