After being abandoned by potential funding partners, the Halifax Regional Municipality is facing an $18.5-million shortfall in funding the Hammonds Plains four-pad arena.

 

The municipality had hoped to share the cost of the $39-million project evenly between the three levels of government, but wll now only get $2 million from the province.

 

HRM will now need to borrow $2 million more than its entire perennially-overwhelmed snow removal budget.

 

“We won’t have any snow this year,” laughed Kelly yesterday when this was pointed out.

 

Because the rink construction comes out of the capital budget, it won’t appear on the books until next year. Yesterday, council moved to throw the $18.5 million into Halifax’s overall debt strategy, and staff will later recommend how best to pay off the money.

Kelly stressed it was important to move ahead on the arena regardless, in order to address ice time and recreation space shortages.

“We had to make a decision and this council said the rink will be built. We were hoping for others to come to the table, they did not,” he said.

“Are we disappointed? Yes we are. But are we going to stop the full project? Absolutely not.”