28 February 2011
Toronto City Council gave its approval to the Leaside Arena Expansion Project when it passed the City’s 2011 Capital Budget this past Thursday.
Plans to build the much-needed second rink at Leaside Gardens have been in the works for more than a decade. They began to accelerate in 2009 when the City purchased the land adjacent to the current arena where the second rink will be built. In 2010 a local family stepped forward with a major anonymous donation which enabled the hiring of an architect and planning work with city officials to begin in earnest.
The Leaside Arena Expansion Project will cost an estimated $9.5 million, of which $7 million will come from a city-guaranteed loan to be repaid through future operating revenues, and $2.5 million must be raised by the primary partner groups and the local community.
Ward 26 Councillor John Parker, who has been working towards the second rink at Leaside Gardens for the past ten years, first on the arena board and now on city council, said, “This is great news for all the kids who will be able to use the new rink in the years to come. But we’re not across the goal line yet – we need all families in Leaside and the surrounding area to step up and contribute to the community portion of the cost to make this project a reality.”
“We’re thrilled to have cleared this major hurdle,” said Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer. “But we still have a lot of work to do. The donor family did their part to get things moving. City Council has done its part by approving the project. Now it’s up to the community to do our part and raise the $2.5 million.” Mercer added that fundraising efforts with the primary partner groups and the community have already been underway for several months. “We’re more than half way towards our goal but we have more to raise before August 1st in order to keep the project on schedule.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to the project should speak with an expansion committee member or visit our donations page.