Halifax Regional Municipality is willing to foot the bill for the new four-pad hockey arena in Hammonds Plains — but they say they could really use a financial boost from the provincial government.

That was the message delivered yet again by Mayor Peter Kelly at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility, slated for completion in the fall of 2010. About 80 people, including municipal councillors and several young hockey players, braved a brisk autumn wind to attend the event yesterday morning.

“We need ice pads, and we’re moving ahead even though we do not have funding from other levels of government,” Kelly said after digging his shovel into a small patch of turf at the centre of the construction site. “The (Health Promotion and Protection) minister and others have said that they will be making a contribution, so we’re taking them at their word.”

The federal Conservatives refused to contribute to the project, saying it does not qualify for stimulus money. But the municipality is still hoping the province will kick in at least one-third of the $42-million cost of the as-yet-unnamed arena — affectionately dubbed the “double-double.”

“There are still ongoing discussions between HRM and the province in order to figure out how and when the province can commit its support,” said the NDP’s Mat Whynott, MLA for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville. “I’ve been working to help move this project forward.”

Whynott said he was uncertain when an official announcement regarding funding might be made.

For 16-year-old hockey player Davis Gosse, the most important thing is that work has now officially begun on the new facility.

“Right now we only have the one rink,” said Gosse, who plays for Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford. “It will be much closer to home for me, and there will be a better chance of getting good ice time.”