Proposed New Arena Addition
Community Centre organizers hope to score a big government grant for a new all-seasons arena in La Salle.

Caisse Community Centre’s board of directors submitted an application for an Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program grant, said Brian Cornelsen, the board’s secretary, to the Rural Municipality of Macdonald’s council at a November 17th meeting. The board is looking for a $7 million investment from the provincial and federal governments through the program.
If all goes according to plan, La Salle will get a 34,000-square-foot indoor rink that operates all year. One end will attach to Caisse Community Centre; the other side will have a new entrance that opens to a dedicated arena parking lot.

"The existing community centre was designed to have this addition put on," Cornelsen told council.

The space will have indoor seating, and bleachers on top of the changerooms, similar to the design of Morris Arena, Cornelsen said.

"This is much different than what we currently have (in the municipality), which is single season ice." 
So, spring leagues, summer camps and other activities not offered at rinks in Oak Bluff, Starbuck and Sanford could happen in La Salle, Cornelsen said.

Organizers anticipate the indoor rink will cost $9.6 million. They hope most funding will come from the government grant they applied for.
Caisse Community Centre has $100,000 stored away from past fundraisers, and it hopes to cover the latter $2.5 million through fundraising and financing from Caisse Financial Group.

A feasibility study by Colliers Project Leaders says the project has a debt servicing capacity of $160,000 per year, Cornelsen said. As of right now, there’s no need for a tax debenture, he added.

"The biggest obstacle is the federal/provincial commitment, and I’m sure there’ll be conditions attached to that, so we’d be looking at checking those boxes off," he told council.

The timeline for hearing back about the grant is murky, especially with the pandemic throwing normal government operations off kilter, Cornelsen said.

"I would expect that once COVID does get reined in and under control here, that we would potentially see a lot of infrastructure money becoming available," he said. "The key is to be in line for that, in a position to capitalize on that."

Should funding get approved, builders could start working on the rink four to six months later, with the  entire build taking about one year, Cornelsen said.
Credit to:
Gabrielle Piché, Community Journalist — The Headliner


 The proposed arena in La Salle would connect to

the Caisse Community Centre.