“Top priority” Hazelton arena receives $12M in government funding

HAZELTONS –Today’s announcement of almost $12M in federal and provincial funding for the proposed Upper Skeena Recreation Centre, better known as the Heart of the Hazeltons, is huge news and due largely to the hard work and dedication of area residents, MP Nathan Cullen said from Ottawa this morning.

“The Heart of the Hazeltons group has been working for years to land the kind of funding that was committed today,” Cullen said. 

“They’ve done an exceptional job of staying on the radar of elected officials and bringing together citizens from all walks of life to make this very ambitious project a community priority.”

Cullen noted the Heart of the Hazeltons project has been his top priority for federal infrastructure dollars because of the importance of a community recreation space for the economically hardhit area that in 2015 saw its 40-year-old arena condemned.  Neighbouring communities also strongly support the project. 

At today’s event at the Hazelton outdoor rink on Highway 62, the federal government earmarked up to $1.8M from the Major Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund and $6M from federal gas tax money for the recreation centre, while the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure committed $4M.

Another $4M has already been raised through local government, community, First Nations and corporate donations.

The proposed 5,050 square-metre facility, slated to open the fall of 2018, will cost close to $16M to build.  In addition to the ice surface and seating for 500 spectators, the building is expected to include a fitness room, gymnasium and community rental space.  Another $4M will be required for equipment and furnishings.

Cullen noted funding from senior governments is critical to build major infrastructure projects such as the Heart of the Hazeltons’ multi-use recreation facility as small local governments do not have the tax base to support costly projects. 

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Contact: Shelley Browne, 250-877-4140, nathan.cullen.c1@parl.gc.ca