Fourteen months after the facility opened for business, the Town of Hay River has held a grand opening for the Rec Centre.
The grand opening featured a ribbon-cutting, speeches, tours of the facility and live entertainment.
However, the main purpose of the event was to recognize the financial contributions of senior governments to the project.
The federal government provided $4.2 million to help construct the Rec Centre through its Small Communities Fund.
Another $3.4 million came from the GNWT’s Community Public Infrastructure Fund.
The bulk of the funding – $17.1 million – was financed by the Town of Hay River itself.
Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod took the opportunity to explain his personal role in supporting the Rec Centre and the Arctic Winter Games — the first event in the facility.
“This is a great facility,” said McLeod. “The Government of Canada provided $4.2 million to this facility. It cost a lot more than that, but we’re happy to provide that.”
McLeod called the Rec Centre a state-of-the-art facility that will serve the community for the next 50 years or so.
Hay River South MLA and territorial cabinet minister Wally Schumann said the long road to the new Rec Centre began about five years ago with discussions about rebuilding or renovating the old centre.
“But at the end of the day, this Rec Centre is the fabric of our community,” he said. “It’s what pretty much holds Hay River together.”
Schumann said he still gets awestruck by the beautiful building.
Mayor Kandis Jameson said the Town of Hay River appreciates the support it received to build the new Rec Centre.
“There are so many people and organizations that have provided various types of support through conception to design to build for this fantastic facility,” she said, proceeding to thank a long list of people and organizations.
Notable non-governmental financial support included $1 million – $100,000 a year for 10 years – from the Aurora Group of Companies and a donation from the Hay River Curling Club following a successful Chase the Ace lottery.
“Working together, these individuals and organizations have built a brilliant facility that not only strengthens our recreational health, but unites us as a community under one roof,” Jameson said. “You should be proud of what you have achieved through your effort, and recognize that you have built a legacy that will be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Construction of the Rec Centre finished in March of last year, just days before the opening of the Arctic Winter Games.
In previous comments to The Hub, Glenn Smith, assistant senior administrative officer (SAO) with the Town of Hay River, said a grand opening did not happen over a year ago because of the Arctic Winter Games.
The June 15 grand opening was held because it was requested as part of a funding arrangement.
“With funding that is received from government, there is usually a requirement to have an opening of the facility to celebrate and recognize the contributions made from the various parties,” said Smith.