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Assiniboia Recreation Complex holds official groundbreaking

Brand-new $15.7 million project well underway, expected to open doors in fall of 2022
Planning has been underway for a decade and shovels have been in the ground since April, but the Town of Assiniboia and District Recreation Complex project is now officially underway.

Members of the community were joined by provincial government representatives for a ground-breaking ceremony on Monday, June 28, celebrating the ongoing work on the $15.7-million facility.

“It’s been 10 years in the making thanks to Curtis Nelson and Assiniboia Civic Improvement Association, it’s been their dream to create this project for our community and now it’s become a reality,” said Assiniboia mayor Sharon Schauenberg. “The construction is underway and continuing, so it’s pretty exciting for us here.”

The facility will feature a 1,000 seat hockey rink with standing room for 1,300 as well as a walking track around the arena concourse, multi-use sport and recreation room, a teen centre and a Lakota First Nation Education and Interpretive Centre, just to name a few of the major amenities.

“It’ll be state-of-the-art environmentally and technology-wise, and not just as a hockey rink,” Schauenberg said.

The arena takes some of its beats from the University of Saskatchewan’s Merlis Belsher Place, with that multi-purpose arena featuring the same contractor in Wright Construction Western out of Saskatoon. Nelson and his team from the ACIA took an in-depth tour of the arena prior to forging ahead with construction plans, and Belsher himself was on hand for groundbreaking Monday.

“That’s quite the area itself in Saskatoon, so we’re really happy to have that kind of advice and help,” Schauenberg said.

Under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, the Government of Canada will contribute up to $6,293,010 to the project and the Government of Saskatchewan will contribute up to $5,243,651. The remainder of the project is funded by the town and ACIA, along with support from neighbouring communities.

It’s expected the arena will be completed in the summer of 2022 and fully operational in time for the 2022-23 hockey and curling season.

It’ll also mark the end of an era. Much like the sentiment surrounding the Moose Jaw Civic Centre when Mosaic Place opened, there are plenty of memories around the Assiniboia arena, also known as the Civic Centre.

“It’s going to be bittersweet, there’s been a lot of hockey played and a lot of events held, but it’s on to bigger and better,” Schauenberg said. “It’s been around here in this town since 1956, so that’s 50-60 years, a lot of tournaments and a lot of games. Just looking at the walls inside and the showcases and the trophies and the pictures of all the teams, there’s a ton of history in there… It’s going to be so different and so exciting.”

The facility -- which will be known as the Southland Co-op Centre — has the added bonus of being located in the heart of the community: it sits across the street from both the Prince of Wales Cultural and Recreation Centre and the Shurniak Art Gallery and kitty-corner to Assiniboia’s town hall.

“Being right in the middle of the hub of our town, we’re hoping we’ll be able to host a lot more tournaments and events and drive more economy into our town,” Schauenberg said. “You want people from all over to come and see it, and since the arena opened years ago in Shaunavon, there hasn’t been a rink like this or a big project like this on a go in Saskatchewan. So we’re excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to see it open.”

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