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Birthplace of Hockey Arena set for construction near King’s-Edgehill School


WEST HANTS – The proposed Birthplace of Hockey Arena may have finally found a home, and it’s right next to King’s-Edgehill School and a stone’s throw away from Long Pond.

That puts the arena right next to where the sport of hockey allegedly began.

Joe Seagram, the headmaster of KES, outlined a plan to provide $1 million in support to build the arena at a stakeholder meeting on May 13 in West Hants council chambers.

Seagram also said the school would build a second ice surface adjacent to the Birthplace of Hockey Arena, if approved.

The $1 million in support is contingent on the arena being built next to the private school on the Dill Farm property.

Seagram said the funding is also contingent on a quick turnaround to get the project moving, with shovels in the ground by fall.

“Both municipal units have passed motions allowing for the creation of a separate society to oversee the operations of this facility,” Seagram said. “Both have passed motions pledging financial support as well. The premier and his caucus are enthusiastic about the concept of celebrating the origins of the game and have expressed support for it. Everyone wants a new hockey centre. It is time for all parties to define their stake in the project and make this happen.”

Seagram said he envisions a ‘mecca of hockey’ at Long Pond. It wouldn’t only be an arena for the community, but a tourism draw.

“This community has been very good at being critical and at saying no,” he said. “I believe it’s time to say yes.”

Roughly 30 people attended the meeting, including elected officials, hockey coaches and community members.

Greg Kelley, who chaired the meeting, said they have consensus from stakeholders to go ahead with the plan.

“We’ve already had a formal presentation with the province and the Liberal caucus back in March and that was very successful,” Kelley said, noting the premier and his ministers were supportive at the time.

“Basically what this will give us is that added push that the provincial government has wanted, to see the community come together on an agreement,” he said. “We have to get this done.”

Not everyone was in favour of the location of the arena, but he said most could see the value of working with KES.

“When you have these types of projects, you expect an open and public discussion; it helps with the transparency,” Kelley said. “I know some of the people in the room have been the adamant supporters of different locations and tonight they were on board.”

The group is a coalition of citizens, rather than a society, so there is no formal vote to accept this proposal.

“The good thing about a rink is that it’s not as site specific as something like a retail store, where location is everything,” Kelley said.

A society will be put in place to oversee the construction and maintenance of the rink once it’s built.

“It’s an unprecedented offer from any private institution and I think its been well expressed here that if it came from any other source there would be no question of going ahead with it,” he said.

“King’s-Edgehill has already become an integral part of the community with the pool, the theatre, and this is an extension of that,” he said. “The focus is really on Long Pond, and KES is next door.”

There were still some people at the meeting who outwardly said they wouldn’t support the project at this location, including West Hants Coun. Randy Matheson.

“The money has been set aside (from West Hants), on condition, and one of those conditions is location,” Matheson said. “I have concerns only with location. I support the project fully except for that.”

At the meeting, Matheson said he just found out about the deal with KES and needed time to process it.

“At this particular point I haven’t changed my mind on being against the location.”

When asked what location he would support for the arena’s construction, Matheson said ‘this area right here.’

West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee said the money set aside for the arena was to wait to see what was going on, not just location.

The next steps will be seeing when and if other levels of funding come in from the three levels of government.

Total cost of the arena project is currently slated at $9 million.

The Town of Windsor has already budgeted for an upgrade to College Road in five years, which much of the proposed arena traffic would be using.

In a press release issued by KES, Seagram said he's hopeful that the school’s commitment would serve as the catalyst for action on the project.

“We are not interested in funding this project in a different location, nor are we interested in delaying construction,” said Seagram in the press release. “We believe in the vision of establishing Long Pond as the Birthplace of Hockey, and we believe that everyone is impatient for the construction of a new facility to start.”

That puts the arena right next to where the sport of hockey allegedly began.

Joe Seagram, the headmaster of KES, outlined a plan to provide $1 million in support to build the arena at a stakeholder meeting on May 13 in West Hants council chambers.

Seagram also said the school would build a second ice surface adjacent to the Birthplace of Hockey Arena, if approved.

The $1 million in support is contingent on the arena being built next to the private school on the Dill Farm property.

Seagram said the funding is also contingent on a quick turnaround to get the project moving, with shovels in the ground by fall.

“Both municipal units have passed motions allowing for the creation of a separate society to oversee the operations of this facility,” Seagram said. “Both have passed motions pledging financial support as well. The premier and his caucus are enthusiastic about the concept of celebrating the origins of the game and have expressed support for it. Everyone wants a new hockey centre. It is time for all parties to define their stake in the project and make this happen.”

Seagram said he envisions a ‘mecca of hockey’ at Long Pond. It wouldn’t only be an arena for the community, but a tourism draw.

“This community has been very good at being critical and at saying no,” he said. “I believe it’s time to say yes.”

Roughly 30 people attended the meeting, including elected officials, hockey coaches and community members.

Greg Kelley, who chaired the meeting, said they have consensus from stakeholders to go ahead with the plan.

“We’ve already had a formal presentation with the province and the Liberal caucus back in March and that was very successful,” Kelley said, noting the premier and his ministers were supportive at the time.

“Basically what this will give us is that added push that the provincial government has wanted, to see the community come together on an agreement,” he said. “We have to get this done.”

Not everyone was in favour of the location of the arena, but he said most could see the value of working with KES.

“When you have these types of projects, you expect an open and public discussion; it helps with the transparency,” Kelley said. “I know some of the people in the room have been the adamant supporters of different locations and tonight they were on board.”

The group is a coalition of citizens, rather than a society, so there is no formal vote to accept this proposal.

“The good thing about a rink is that it’s not as site specific as something like a retail store, where location is everything,” Kelley said.

A society will be put in place to oversee the construction and maintenance of the rink once it’s built.

“It’s an unprecedented offer from any private institution and I think its been well expressed here that if it came from any other source there would be no question of going ahead with it,” he said.

“King’s-Edgehill has already become an integral part of the community with the pool, the theatre, and this is an extension of that,” he said. “The focus is really on Long Pond, and KES is next door.”

There were still some people at the meeting who outwardly said they wouldn’t support the project at this location, including West Hants Coun. Randy Matheson.

“The money has been set aside (from West Hants), on condition, and one of those conditions is location,” Matheson said. “I have concerns only with location. I support the project fully except for that.”

At the meeting, Matheson said he just found out about the deal with KES and needed time to process it.

“At this particular point I haven’t changed my mind on being against the location.”

When asked what location he would support for the arena’s construction, Matheson said ‘this area right here.’

West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee said the money set aside for the arena was to wait to see what was going on, not just location.

The next steps will be seeing when and if other levels of funding come in from the three levels of government.

Total cost of the arena project is currently slated at $9 million.

The Town of Windsor has already budgeted for an upgrade to College Road in five years, which much of the proposed arena traffic would be using.

In a press release issued by KES, Seagram said he's hopeful that the school’s commitment would serve as the catalyst for action on the project.

“We are not interested in funding this project in a different location, nor are we interested in delaying construction,” said Seagram in the press release. “We believe in the vision of establishing Long Pond as the Birthplace of Hockey, and we believe that everyone is impatient for the construction of a new facility to start.”

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