Province providing $18M to help fund twin-pad arena in Sault Ste. Marie

The Ontario government announced Monday it is providing more than $18 million for the construction of a $25 million twin-pad arena in Sault Ste. Marie. (File)

The Ontario government announced Monday it is providing more than $18 million for the construction of a $25 million twin-pad arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

"The twin-pad arena will replace the existing single-pad arena at the McMeeken Arena, significantly increasing the square-footage and seating capacity inside the arena for the Sault Ste. Marie community," the province said in a news release.

The project will help to strengthen and protect communities, like Sault Ste. Marie, create jobs, and contribute to the province's long-term economic recovery, the release said.

“In the face of COVID-19, the Ontario government continues to move forward with infrastructure projects to strengthen communities and create jobs,” Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, said in the release.

“Supporting meaningful projects like this one in Sault Ste. Marie will make a positive difference to the families who live in the community, while also protecting their health and well-being today, and for many years to come.”

Sault MPP Ross Romano said he has a personal connection when it comes to the need for the arena.

“I recall being a member of city council myself when a CO2 leak at the McMeeken Arena led to a health scare for many parents and families,” Romano said in the release.

“It is encouraging that we will have multiple major infrastructure projects being built in Sault Ste. Marie over the next year. With a new $25 million twin-pad arena in the west end of the city and a new $18 million Indigenous Cultural Centre in the east end of the city, and even more exciting news on the way with the construction of our community-based addictions services centre offering residential withdrawal management services.

"I can’t wait to see all the shovels in the ground as we recover from COVID-19.”

Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano said the project is important for the city.

“The twin-pad arena infrastructure project will address the significant current and projected future recreational demand in our community," Provenzano said.

“Important infrastructure projects of this nature require collaboration with and support from different levels of government, and I want to recognize Sault Ste. Marie’s MPP Ross Romano and the Government of Ontario for its very significant contribution in support of this project.”