The planned $36-million PCU Centre includes an indoor aquatic centre, a 1,700-seat main arena, a 4,000-square-foot fitness centre, a 200-seat multipurpose room, a grand atrium and a two-lane walking track.
The environmentally friendly facility will also meet the Canadian Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating. The new arena will have two regulation-size ice surfaces and will be capable of hosting large community events such as trade shows and concerts.
With construction ending in late fall 2009. the city aims to have the PCU Centre ready for the 2010 Manitoba Winter Games, said Mayor Ken Brennan,
"The community has been wanting this type of a facility for decades," Brennan said. "We turned the sod today and we're very, very pleased. We find that recreation and wellness is crucial to the health of the community and we have been told by the community that it's something that they want."
The federal funding of $3.3 million for the sports complex comes from the Canada-Manitoba Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund and is matched by an equal contribution from the province and the city. Manitoba is adding an additional $1.7 million from the Building Manitoba Fund.
"It was identified as a priority by both provincial and federal representatives, including me," said Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board, explaining he was impressed by the large existing financial commitment from local government and the strong community support for a regional facility.
"The community has identified this as their priority," Toews said.
The announcement of new funding follows commitments earlier this year of $16 million from the city and $8 million from the municipality for the project, plus $1.2 million already raised through selling naming rights to portions of the facility.
About $3 million more must still be raised through local corporate and private donations to complete the project, Brennan said.