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Feasibility study starts on Windsor arena proposals, public input not being sought

['This is an artistic rendering of what a new arena could look like if it was located at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds in Windsor.']
['This is an artistic rendering of what a new arena could look like if it was located at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds in Windsor.']

WINDSOR, N.S. — Consultants are currently studying which Windsor location — Long Pond or the Hants County Exhibition grounds — would make the most economic sense to build a new hockey heritage arena.

The study will address the strengths and weaknesses of both site proposals, including tourism potential, sustainability, facility operations, adjacent land uses and other factors.

The two proposals currently being considered are the Long Pond site, which is in a residential area near the Dill Family Farm and King’s-Edgehill School, and the Hants County Exhibition grounds, which is located on the busy Wentworth Road near Highway 101.

The provincial government has previously committed $3-million towards the arena project, and the two municipal units have pledged monies as well. The federal government currently hasn’t pledged any funds at this point.

According to a media representative from the provincial government, the first meeting with the consultants wrapped up on July 24, 2017.

Market Research Associates (MRA) and CBCL Engineering consultants are carrying out the study.

The department of Communities, Culture and Heritage issued the request for proposals for the study.

The cost for the study is $39,740, which will be split by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, which is covering 60 per cent of the bill, and the provincial government covering the remaining 40 per cent, cost-shared by Municipal Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

The study will not include public consultation.

A media representative said market research interviews will be conducted, which could include members of the public.

The deadline to complete the study was initially Aug. 31, 2017 but has been extended to Sept. 30, 2017.

Louis Coutinho, the Town of Windsor’s chief administrative officer, said in an email that Windsor and the Municipality of West Hants had no input whatsoever into the feasibility study document.

He added that all relevant stakeholders would be interviewed for the study.

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