Last night Toronto City Council approved the Leaside Arena Expansion Project as part of the 2012 city budget. The $12.5 million project includes a $7.5 million loan from the city and a $1.5 million loan from the province against future operating revenues, $1 million from the city in accelerated capital improvements, and $2.5 million raised by the local community.
As you know we undertook to have met this local fundraising target by the time city council voted on the budget. And I am pleased to say that we succeeded! Yesterday Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer and Fundraising Committee Chair Charlene Kalia confirmed that the $2.5 million cash-in-hand local fundraising target “to get a shovel in the ground” was achieved on Monday and that this information was formally passed on to city officials.
Meeting our community fundraising goal represents a huge achievement and I want to thank all those who have been a part of making it happen. To Paul and Charlene and the members of the fundraising committee who have worked so hard for the past eighteen months, to the families and volunteers associated with our three main user groups the LHA, LSC and TLGHA, and to all those local businesses, families and individuals who have contributed financially to this effort, I extend a big and heart-felt ‘Thank You!’ This is a community achievement and we couldn’t have done it without everyone working together. It doesn’t mean that our fundraising efforts are finished. We will still need to raise funds to finance aspects of the project that are not part of the tender and will provide more information on this later. In this regard, I encourage you to attend “Laugh out Loud in Leaside — Act Three“. This event has been a great success the past two years and promises to be another enjoyable evening of good food and drink, comedy and music, with great silent auction items. A flyer for the event is attached.
I would also like to thank Councillor John Parker for all his hard work behind the scenes in bringing the various city departments together when required and in guiding the project through the approvals process at City Hall. We can now focus on getting the project out to tender, awarding the contract and beginning the construction phase as quickly as possible.
So, while there is still a lot of work ahead of us, I want to again emphasize that yesterday represents a huge achievement on the part of the Leaside community and a major milestone in the long process of getting our second rink at Leaside Gardens. As Paul Mercer said, “January 17th is a day worth remembering! Congratulations to all board and committee members. And a big ‘thank you’ to the over 900 individuals and corporations that have made a financial contribution.”
Brooke Biscoe, Arena Board Chair
Leaside Memorial Community Gardens.