An $18-million promise made by the former Ontario Liberal government is now off the books.
The grant money, unveiled in the provincial budget in the spring, was to be applied over a three-year period for the new twin-pad arena complex to be built at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont.
According to Mayor Daryl Bennett, the city will likely have to wait a year to get shovels in the ground.
“We couldn’t get the previous government to give us a letter that would indicate it was guaranteed. We’ve yet to receive a letter from the new government to say it’s still on the books,” said Bennett.
Newly elected Conservative MPP Dave Smith said when the new government took over, it noticed the money wasn’t earmarked.
“The $18 million over three years was never tied to any programs. It was an election promise with no way to pay for it,” said Dave Smith, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP.
Smith said there will be new funding announcements, but not until the fall economic update. He wants the new government to pursue funding for the project.
“Infrastructure is something we need to spend money on,” added Smith. “We’re closing Northcrest. There is a need for more ice pads in the community.”
Bennett said the city will have more money at its disposal for capital projects thanks to slots revenue from the new casino, opening on Monday, and the eventual sell-off of the city’s electrical distribution company to Hydro One for $105 million.
The facility on Pioneer Road will replace the 51-year-old Northcrest Arena on nearby Marina Boulevard.
The total cost of the twin-pad arena portion of the project is expected to be about $40 million. The entire project, complete with an aquatics centre, is around $54 million.