The Town of Ste. Anne has hired a consultant to do a feasibility study for the arena.

Mayor Yvan St. Vincent says this is all possible thanks to some partnerships and grants that have come their way. He notes they were able to free up some money in order to task a consultant with studying the entire complex to see what could be done there over the next few years, but also in the decades to come. 

St. Vincent says so much has happened with the arena over the last seven months, which has allowed them to set loftier goals for the facility. He notes back in January the goal was simply to open for the 2023-24 season. But, in order to pull that off, St. Vincent says they needed either a new ice plant or a refurbished one.

"I thought that would be the maximum and that was the dream and frankly they've blown that out of the water," he admits. 

Back in February, arena stakeholders and users from the town and surrounding area heard of the financial concerns with repairing and maintaining the arena. From that meeting, a recreation steering committee was formed.

Since then, Ste. Anne won $25,000 through the Kraft Hockeyville competition and received grants as well as monetary donations to make sure the arena would be in good condition for another winter. 

St. Vincent says there was also a lot of support through some community fundraising events, which took in more than $130,000. He notes through a generous partnership with the RM of Ste. Anne, they also received $75,000 to ensure the arena would open in September.  

According to the Mayor, those entering the arena this fall should notice a number of improvements in addition to the ice plant. For example, a puck board has gone up behind the benches, they have installed new flooring in all the dressing rooms and hallways, repainted the lobby and added a new sound system. On the curling side, which is also part of the same complex, St. Vincent says they have received a grant and are finalizing what improvements to make with that money. 

In addition to that, they have also found someone to take over the canteen this winter. St. Vincent notes the arena has been without a canteen for the last couple of years and it will be great to have someone with experience working there. He notes they are hard at work renovating the canteen in order to make sure it is ready for Dawson Trail Days in September. 

"From top to bottom it's truly a very exciting time for that arena and to see it essentially come back to life which is what we dreamed of when this started almost a year ago," he adds.

St. Vincent says thanks to their fundraising efforts, they now have a "fair bit of money in the bank," He notes once the feasibility study is complete, the money they have on hand can serve as seed money for future projects. He explains the feasibility study will hopefully allow them access to hundreds of thousands of dollars. St. Vincent says typically in order to qualify for a grant, a group must present a plan. He says the feasibility study should provide them with plans for future projects. 

"It seems kind of like the Pandora's box has been wide open and now we're going to start dreaming about all the other stuff we're going to do," he adds. "So, it's a super exciting time for that."

With files from Judy Peters


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