Ice Oval Funding Certainly in the Discussion
Prince George, B.C. – Cautious optimism may be a good way to describe the feeling around the Outdoor Ice Oval Society of Prince George’s effort to secure funding for a $3.7 million refrigeration system for the oval at Exhibition Park.
At its September 19th meeting City Council approved the society’s request to have the project referred to the City’s unfunded list in the 2018 Five Year Capital Plan. That move allowed the society to seek funding from the provincial and federal governments while at the same time proceeding with its own “Chill The Oval” campaign to raise $500,000 toward the system.
The society is holding its AGM in a couple of weeks on November 7th at which time it will be releasing more information on that campaign. In the meantime, in regard to possible provincial monies being available OIO Society President Kathy Lewis told 250 News recently that “I actually made a request to (Community, Sport and Cultural Development) Minister (Peter) Fassbender, that was facilitated by Shirley Bond, so I’m hopeful that we will be able to work something out with them. I’m fairly optimistic about that.”
For her part Prince George-Valemount MLA and provincial cabinet minister Bond told 250 News that both she and Prince George-Mackenzie MLA and cabinet minister Mike Morris have had productive discussions with the society and have been briefed on their plans. “Certainly we recognize,” says Bond “that having consistent ice quality is pretty important to attracting large events and international competitions and also for use for local residents.”
“I’ve taken the opportunity to speak to Minister Fassbender, who is responsible for the sporting file and the gaming file in Victoria, so good constructive discussion, obviously a big ask in terms of financial support but we’re just going to continue to be supportive and try to find ways to help this organization, they’ve done a great job.”
Bond says “I think it’s always important that Victoria is aware of the needs that we have here and the biggest issue is that there’s lots of asks and lots of high-priority projects. But we do know that having affordable opportunities for families to enjoy being outside and being active is important.”
She also says that the fact the OIO Society is earnestly raising some of the money needed for the refrigeration plant is a strong display of its sincerity and dedication. “Well certainly anytime that funding is raised that is an important factor because it does allow them to leverage those monies and I think it does speak to their dedication and hard work when they’re talking about this being a partnership. I know that they’ll be having a number of asks, including to the federal government potentially under the Canada 150 (Community Infrastructure) Program, those kinds of things. So I think its important as a locally-elected MLA our job is to take all of the asks to Victoria, work hard and make sure that we’re doing our very best to acquire funds.”
Bond says community backing and council interest certainly show support for the society’s work on this project.