Mount Pearl Lifestyle Centre one step closer to reality

Darcy MacRae
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recreation Federal government commits to project, will provincial government be next?

Randy Simms enjoys good news as much as anyone, especially when it comes unexpectedly.

That's why the mayor of Mount Pearl was so happy Tuesday evening when he learned the federal government had committed to covering up to one-third of the cost of constructing the proposed Mount Pearl Lifestyle Centre. The commitment, which came from Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, Tuesday evening and was music to Simms' ears.

"I was not expecting it to be released at this time. We have been working hard with both the federal and provincial governments to convince them this project is worthwhile," said Simms. "This (news) delights us to no end. It means they are seriously looking at this proposal."

Randy Simms enjoys good news as much as anyone, especially when it comes unexpectedly.

That's why the mayor of Mount Pearl was so happy Tuesday evening when he learned the federal government had committed to covering up to one-third of the cost of constructing the proposed Mount Pearl Lifestyle Centre. The commitment, which came from Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, Tuesday evening and was music to Simms' ears.

"I was not expecting it to be released at this time. We have been working hard with both the federal and provincial governments to convince them this project is worthwhile," said Simms. "This (news) delights us to no end. It means they are seriously looking at this proposal."

The Mount Pearl Lifestyle Centre would include a new arena, a double-size gymnasium, a gymnastics centre, a new swimming pool and several offices. The new building would be an extension onto the Glacier arena and could stretch all the way to the Reid Community Centre.

The project is expected to cost at least $30,000,000. One proposal drawn up by the City of Mount Pearl had the final cost being split three ways between the city, the provincial government and the feds. Now that the city and federal government have committed to the project, Simms can only hope provincial politicians jump on board.

"This is not a done deal yet, but we're working toward it," said Simms. "Negotiations with the provincial government have begun and they are on-going ...

"With the federal government (committing), we're obviously going to turn to the province and say 'How about it?'"

Simms could not speculate on how soon the provincial government could have an answer for his city, but it goes without saying the sooner an answer comes, the better. Should the province commit to covering the final one-third of the cost, construction could likely begin soon after.

"(The Lifestyle Centre) is essential for the region. Our swimming pool is old and tired and we're spending a lot of money trying to keep it up. We have an arena (Smallwood Arena) that has outlived its lifetime and it's time for it to go," said Simms, adding the Smallwood Arena would be torn down if a new arena was constructed.

dmacrae@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Mount Pearl Lifestyle Centre, Reid Community Centre

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador

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