MacKay announces funding for geothermal arena project

Defence Minister Peter MacKay at Centre 200

Defence Minister Peter MacKay wears a Cape Breton Screaming Eagles jersey and baseball cap during an announcement at Centre 200 in Sydney on Wednesday. Chris Shannon – Cape Breton Post

Published on February 16, 2011

Published on February 16, 2011

Chris Shannon 

SYDNEY — A Glace Bay community group is getting assistance from the federal government to move forward with its $997,000 energy-efficient geothermal heating and cooling system pilot project at the Bayplex.

Topics :

Centre 200 , Enterprise Cape Breton , First Nation , Sydney , Cape Breton , Nova Scotia

The energy for the system will come from mine water from the community’s former coal mines for heating and cooling purposes, the arena’s general manager Clarence Routledge said during Wednesday’s funding announcement at Centre 200 in Sydney.

“It’s a tremendous, tremendous project,” Routledge said.

“What it will do for the environment, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is equal to taking 200 vehicles off the road.”

 Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the federal government would contribute $272,498 to the project through its local economic development agency Enterprise Cape Breton Corp.

“This is tremendous innovation being brought to bear here in Cape Breton,” said MacKay, who is also regional minister for Nova Scotia.

“This will result in significant energy savings for the facility.”

The Bayplex geothermal system will also serve as a pilot project for other geothermal energy applications that may lead to further developments in Cape Breton, Routledge has said.

According to Routledge, a similar system is in use at the Springhill arena and yearly energy costs at the Bayplex are about $192,000 compared to $94,000 for the arena in Springhill.

Membertou was also the recipient of federal investment dollars with $2.3 million to support the First Nation’s hotel construction project that’s currently being built. The money acts as a loan to the joint venture company Charlottetown-based DP Murphy Inc., which is building the Hilton-brand 124-room hotel.

“The Murphys are investing in over $9.8 million into the project. That investment would not have been possible without the facilitation and assistance of Enterprise Cape Breton Corp.,” said Membertou senior adviser Dan Christmas.

“All the projects we do in Cape Breton are based on co-operation and good, sound assistance and I can honestly tell you, Mr. Minister, that the assistance that was provided to us by ECBC was instrumental in bringing in an outside Maritime investor into the Sydney area.”

MacKay also lauded the accomplishments of Centre 200 and the $3.75 million the federal government has already contributed to major upgrades to one of the largest arenas in the province.

He said the upgrades would put the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in good stead in awarding the 2012 Memorial Cup to Sydney. Halifax, Saint John, N.B., and Shawinigan, Que. are also bidding for the tournament.

“These investments were designed specially to increase economic development and impact on the facility itself by positioning Centre 200 and the CBRM as a potential venue for regional, national, and international sports and cultural events,” MacKay said.

And being a good sport, the minister, a hockey fan, wasted little time in promoting the Eagles’ Memorial Cup bid by removing his jacket and pulling on a Cape Breton Screaming Eagles jersey over a white dress shirt and plaid tie. He didn’t forget to put on the matching Eagles baseball cap, all of which caught the attention of camera crews and journalists.

The completion of construction along the Cabot Trail was also announced.

A Parks Canada news release stated $29.6 million had been spent on infrastructure projects, of which $14 million was provided through funding from Canada’s economic action plan.

The Liberal are viewing these announcements in the regions as a public relations exercise prior to a potential election call.

In a release, Sydney-Victoria Liberal MP Mark Eyking called it a “rehash of old announcements” and that it’s an indication that the “federal spending well has run dry.”

“For a minister to leave Ottawa on a Wednesday you would think there would be a new project,” Eyking said.

“I was hoping he would at least announce a new federal building for Ingonish after the Conservatives have stalled the project for four years.”

MacKay’s visit to Cape Breton was hampered by poor driving conditions, forcing the cancellation of his 11 a.m. event at the Sydney cruise pavilion, which would have focused solely on infrastructure improvements to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.



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