On Friday, November 18th, 2016, MP Terry Sheehan (Government of Canada) and Chief Dean Sayers, Batchewana First Nation, came together at The Rankin Arena. The two were on hand to announce that $100,000 was being invested into the over 40 year old community structure from FedNor.
‘The Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Programme (CIP 150), delivered in Northern Ontario through FedNor, is part of the Government of Canada’s coordinated approach to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The Government of Canada’s $100,000 investment in the Rankin Arena, located in the east end of Sault Ste. Marie, will help Batchewana First nation reduce the operational costs of its sports complex. Assisting with upgrades to the facility’s refrigeration unit and lighting, the funded enhancements are designed to save energy.’ (media release)
Terry Sheehan, who shared that he once played hockey as a youngster at Rankin arena, stated: “It’s good to be back here, where so many young people come to play hockey. It’s great to see the improvements that have already been made here.”
“Community facilities are an integral part of the social and economic fabric of communities large and small across Canada. As part of Budget 2016, our Government announced an additional 150 million dollars over two years, was set aside to renovate, expand or improve spaces. Provided through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Programme (CIP) the funding is part of the government of Canada’s coordinated approach to mark the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. In Northern Ontario, delivered through FedNor, the total allocation is 10.4 million, over these two years, ending March 31st, 2018,” he said.
The Batchewana First Nation has been working on upgrades to Rankin Arena over the past several months. BFN has already invested $100,000, with work being completed a short time ago to the extensive lighting system, the concessions, the spectator stands and components necessary for a good ice surface. Chief Sayers stated that the overall Rankin Arena renovation project is estimated to cost $300,000. Construction began on Rankin Arena in 1975 and it opened in 1976.
“On behalf of the members of the Batchewana First Nation, I would like to thank the Government of Canada for its investment, through FedNor, to address key infrastructure issues with the Rankin Arena. It’s the focal point of our community where we host a number of cultural events, including pow-wows and Aboriginal Day celebrations.”
Chief Sayers further added that the best French fries in the region can be found at the Rankin Arena concession stand.
“This community centre is more than the ice surface. We have gathering places here as well. We are a hub for hockey in the greater community. 90% of our ice rentals are for youth hockey. There is a lot of potential here.” said Sayers.
“We have had really inefficient refrigeration equipment (chillers, compressors, etc.) that had an effect on our competitiveness. We have a lot of work to do, but this (FedNor funding) takes us a long way. As a people, we have to find ways to be innovative.”
“There are still opportunities to apply to CIP 150, and I would encourage folks to do so.” said Sheehan. The application deadline to apply is March 31st, 2017, with a maximum amount requested per application currently set at $100,000.