The South River-Machar Community Centre and Arena is getting backup generators and an updated kitchen. The work is due to grants from the provincial and federal governments totalling $200,000. The federal portion accounts for $160,000 of the grants and the remaining $40,000 is from the province. In addition to letting patrons continue using the arena during a power outage, the backup generators also allows the site to be used as an emergency shelter should the need arise. Also, the improved kitchen will help with emergency cooking if needed in addition to providing food when groups host regular events. Both communities have been trying to get the arena improvements for years but they were not financially possible without help from both governments. South River Mayor Jim Coleman was thankful to the federal and provincial governments for awarding the grants adding the improvements will help both his community and Machar. Machar Mayor Lynda Carleton was equally thankful for the money and also said the Machar council has been a supporter of the improvements for a long time. Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller was pleased the grants were approved, saying residents of northern and rural communities understand the importance and need for arenas and community centres because they are often “the heart of our communities.” Miller said not only do the upgrades ensure continued use of the building, the added good news is the backup generators and improved kitchen reinforce the plan to use the arena and community hall as a temporary shelter in an emergency. Scott Aitchison, the MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, commended the leaders and officials of both communities who brought the upgrade project to fruition and he fully supported “this much needed recreational project for our area.” The money for the improvements was through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget