Windsor town council rejects proposal for new arena at Long Pond
Published Wednesday, August 8, 2018 9:22PM ADT
After four years of preparation, the project to build a new arena in Windsor, N.S. has been scrapped.
Council voted it down, with some members saying the $12.5-million proposal was just too expensive.
Others say a golden opportunity has been missed after a divisive controversy leading up to the vote.
Danny Dill points to the field where the arena would have gone on the Dill family farm made famous by its giant pumpkins.
“To build an arena, right next to where hockey began, we thought would be the most obvious thing to do,” said Dill. “Like, anybody outside the community would tell us, that’s the place to build it.”
Long Pond, also on the Dill family farm, is believed by many to be the birthplace of hockey. The Dill family has provided public access to it for decades.
Abraham Zebian, a business operator and the Warden of West Hants, is also disappointed. But, he said, members of the public were saying the process was flawed.
“No public consultation on the matter,” Zebian said. “There’s no give and take, maybe they didn't feel the location suited an arena for the people of this area.”
Others say the town, even with financial help from West Hants and the province, just couldn't afford the price tag to put it in the field next door to King's Edgehill School.
The existing arena in Windsor was built in Exhibition Park in 1981. It's a multi-use venue and is owned by the Windsor-Hants Agricultural Society.
“We had people coming to us asking us why this facility hadn’t been considered as a possible rink upgrade or a rink replacement,” said Lisa Hines, the society’s president.
Their counter-proposal was a $9-million replacement arena. It was $3 million cheaper because water and sewer lines are already in place.
$6.5 million had already been raised or allotted by various levels of government. What happens to that money remains uncertain.
Some say the existing arena doesn’t need to be replaced at all; it just needs a facelift, which would only cost $3 to 4 million, instead of $12 to $13 million.
Some say everyone loses in the end.
"For me, I looked at it as a recreational complex for our residents,” said Zebian.
Long Pond will still draw people, winter or summer, who want to see where hockey is believed to have been born.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.