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Windsor council proposes sub-committee with West Hants to discuss arena feasibility study

The feasibility study to aid Windsor and West Hants councils in determining an appropriate site for the new hockey heritage arena and museum was released to stakeholders Nov. 14, 2017.
The feasibility study to aid Windsor and West Hants councils in determining an appropriate site for the new hockey heritage arena and museum was released to stakeholders Nov. 14, 2017.

WINDSOR, N.S. — There's still a lot of discussion required before construction on the proposed hockey heritage museum and arena for the Town of Windsor can get underway.

During Windsor's recent strategy and policy committee meeting, councillors discussed how to proceed with discussions related to the feasibility study on the proposed hockey heritage museum and arena.

The purpose of the meeting was not to discuss the findings of the feasibility study – although aspects of the study were brought up – but to determine the town's next move.

“I think the way the report was done leaves a lot of lose ends and speculation, with a few areas not addressed at all,” said Windsor Mayor Anna Allen Nov. 21 as she emphasized the importance of getting the project right to avoid splitting the community on this issue any further. “It’s almost like we’re at the beginning again.”

The feasibility study, paid for by the province and the federal government, was conducted at the behest of both levels of government. 

Coun. Shelley Bibby said the allusion to a possible third option, mentioned in a letter by Communities, Culture and Heritage Deputy Minister Tracey Taweel, was a “wrench-like” comment.

Allen said she wanted clarity on what both levels of government will do with the study they commissioned.

The mayor also suggested setting up a sub-committee with West Hants as a way to dive deeper into the feasibility study itself.

Coun. Jim Ivey, who chaired the meeting, said he’s hoping things will get moving quickly, adding that much time has been dedicated to this project already.

“At some point in time, I’m assuming there will be some form of presentation to the public,” Ivey said. “I know that I’ve got some questions that I’d like to be asking.”

Louis Coutinho, the town's chief administrative officer, said it’s important for council to determine how they want the discussion on the feasibility study to proceed before delving into the study’s findings.

The strategy and policy committee determined the following steps would take place:

— The CAOs from Windsor and West Hants would contact the provincial and federal governments to determine their obligations vis-à-vis the study.

— They will establish a sub-committee, if West Hants agrees, to discuss the feasibility study and the proposed arena project directly. The sub-committee would be comprised of Windsor’s mayor and two councillors, as well as West Hants’ warden and two councillors, plus senior staff from both municipal units.

— Once the sub-committee is formed, council said they would like a presentation from a consultant who worked on the feasibility study so the councillors could ask questions of the findings.

— The sub-committee will also be meeting with stakeholders, including the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society and the Windsor Agricultural Society.

— Following the stakeholder meetings, a town hall meeting will take place to incorporate public engagement.

Several councillors from West Hants attended the Nov. 21 meeting as well.

Councillors Randy Hussey and Tanya Leopold both said they were in favour of a sub-committee with Windsor and said they’re hoping it will be added to the agenda of their upcoming Nov. 28 committee of the whole meeting.

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