B.C. Minister Todd Stone announces nearly $12 million in federal and provincial funding for a new Upper Skeena Recreation Centre.

Upper Skeena Recreation Centre ready for spring construction

All the funding is in place for a large new recreation centre in the Hazeltons.

Read the full story in the Nov. 2 edition of The Interior News.

The $16-million Upper Skeena Recreation Centre in Hazelton will start construction, likely in the spring, thanks to nearly $12 million announced today from the federal and provincial governments.

Heart of the Hazeltons said the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre will serve as the region’s centre for activity. The accessible 5,050 square-metre facility will have an ice surface and seating for about 500 spectators, a fitness room, a gym, and a community rental space. It will also have spaces for community programming in various areas such as wellness and personal development.

B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone was in Hazelton at the old rink Wednesday morning to make the announcement. He said the timing of the funding was “better late than never.”

“A lot has happened over the last three years. Just when we were about to secure federal funding, there was a federal election and a change of government. A whole year of … delay in the project resulted there,” explained Stone.

“Thankfully, the new federal government was very responsive and reacted very well to this particular project and what it means for the community. We all would have loved to move forward with this project a year or two ago but, as they say, better late than never. Shovels will be in the ground as early in the spring as possible. I can’t wait to come back to the Hazeltons and walk into this new arena and see the kids out there on their skates having fun.”

The Government of Canada will provide up to $1,875,788 from the Major Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund and $6,000,000 from the federal Gas Tax Fund. The Province of British Columbia will provide up to $4,000,000 towards the project. The rest of the project will be funded by contributions from local businesses, philanthropic agencies and individual donors. The total project will cost approximately $15,751,576.

“This announcement is great news! As strong and resilient as our community is, we have struggled with major economic, health and social issues. We have worked hard together on our Upper Skeena Recreation Centre project which will act as a springboard for us to tackle some of our health, education, and development challenges. We thank all those in the federal and provincial governments as well as the many people locally who have worked hard and contributed generously, to make our vision a reality,” said Heart of the Hazeltons Fundraising Campaign chair Peter Newbery in a release.

The whole effort was a very collaborative one.

“The Owners’ Committee for the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre is very excited to collaborate with our federal and provincial partners along with the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, the Village of Hazelton,the District of New Hazelton, the Gitxsan Government Commission, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs and the Office of the Wet’suwet’en on this incredible project. Our new recreation centre will provide many years of sports and recreation, social activities, healthy living programming, and economic stimulation for the communities of the Upper Skeena region. The Upper Skeena Recreation Centre would like to thank the federal and provincial governments, our local governments, and community contributors for making our dream a reality,” said Upper Skeena Recreation Centre Owners Group chair Gail Lowry.

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