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More funding for the Bruce II Sports Complex

The Bruce II will receive another $2.9 million in updates, which will help offset the town’s operating costs. – File photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PORT AUX BASQUES – On Aug. 14, MP Gudie Hutchings (Long Range Mountains), Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Mayor Brian Button announced a joint investment equaling more than $2.9 million to improve energy efficiency at the Bruce II Sports Complex. “We were delighted to announce on behalf of the government of Canada, under the Green Infrastructure and Community Buildings Program, $2.326 million for the Bruce II arena,” said Hutchings. “It’s going to be used for retrofitting, which includes a replacement of windows and roof and a new solar system and upgrades to the lighting and heating system. And when it’s all done, it’s going to reduce their energy consumption by at least 20 per cent.” The federal government is investing $2,326,560 in this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program, and the Town of Port aux Basques is contributing $581,640. According to the news release, the GICB program has a goal of improving the areas where Canadians work, play, live, and gather by helping to make life more affordable, reducing pollution, supporting jobs, and help facilities be more inclusive and accessible while extending their service life. The GICB was created to support Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, supporting the Plan’s first pillar through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the increase of energy efficiency, and higher resilience to climate change. It is providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs or upgrades. “Our government is committed to building greener, more resilient communities through our infrastructure investments. The residents of Channel-Port-aux-Basques rely on the Bruce II Sports Centre not just to stay active, but to stay safe during extreme weather events – something which they experienced first-hand during Hurricane Fiona. Today’s investment will ensure this critical facility can continue to serve the community for decades to come,” said Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities. “It’s all part of our plan to help everybody, help communities, help individuals and realize we’ve got to do something. Look at these tragic fires, look what’s going on in the Northwest Territories, look what happened here last year, look what just happened in Nova Scotia,” said Hutchings. “Climate change is real. So the idea is how can we help communities and individuals offset and be nicer to Mother Nature? Because I think she’s pretty unhappy right now. By working together, we’ll make a difference.” The investment will serve to fund the replacement of the roof and windows at the Bruce II, the installation of a solar array and upgrades to both the lighting and heating systems, which will contribute to reducing the energy consumption of the facility by an estimated 19.7 per cent and lower the greenhouse gas emissions by 8.2 tonnes each year. “It’ll all probably tie in together with work that we’re already doing,” said Mayor Brian Button. “We’re changing out the systems that are in our facilities from oil to electric, so we’ve got a fair bit of items that we hope that these monies will be used for and it will be very beneficial to the facility. So it’s a very pleasing announcement.” The Bruce II Sports Centre acts as the recreation hub for Port aux Basques and the surrounding areas, with an ice rink, two curling sheets, a six-lane bowling alley, swimming pool, fitness centre, and facilities that can be utilized for meetings, so Button sees the investment as a worthy one. “Right now the Bruce II is the cornerstone of this community. As everybody knows, it’s our recreation hub for the community. It’s used for multiple things and the building is aging, so to try to keep it more in line of energy efficiency and taking care of certain items, any investment that’s made into it is certainly a welcome thing and we’re really pleased with the recent announcement,” said Button. “So we can work at some of the retrofits onto it that will make it more energy efficient, taking care of some of the needs in the building, of things that need to be repaired and upgraded. The age of the building now warrants that type of stuff and we want to make sure that this building is carrying us through the future and lasting for the community and the region because the building, although it’s a community run building for the town of Channel-Port aux Basques, it’s a building that’s used for the entire region as well.” “We all know the great Bruce II is an important part of the Southwest coast, and if we can help reduce the operating cost, that means more money for the town to do other things,” said Hutchings. “We understand the importance of communities, we understand the environment and the economy and community go hand in hand, and that’s what we’re all about, and this is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by eight tons annually. Over eight tons annually, that’s incredible.” Work is already underway at the Bruce II. “We’ve got some work that’s ongoing now that’s piggybacking on other funding, so there’s work now that’s currently ongoing with the energy refit side of things, so that is taking place, it’s already happening,” said Button. “Going from now through this fall we’ll start lining up when the other works will be commencing and taking place. So all of that’s into work now to see when the actual timetable will unfold.” Even though upgrades like this can be quite expensive, the idea of building a new facility instead was never seen as a real option. “There were no thoughts of that at all. We have a state of the art building there,” said Button. “It’s getting older, of course. It opened in ‘96, but it’s still – in all accounts when it comes to this – a sound building. It needs repairs, but that comes with age and trying to keep the building energy efficient as well, which will cut costs and operating costs. As more, newer and better technologies come available you want to be able to commence that and bring that to the forefront as well and bring it into your buildings.” The upgrades are not only going to make the building more energy efficient, it will reduce operating and maintenance costs and taxation for residents as well. “Since the time that that building was built, there’s newer, better, more energy efficient systems and ways of doing things, we want to make sure that you go in that direction which keeps your costs down, which keeps the place affordable and for us, for the community at large, it provides the recreational side of things,” said Button. “Recreation in our community is very important and it’s very important in any community, and we want to make sure that we have the best facilities and we are able to run it as cost efficient as we can.” Hutchings said this investment helps in several ways. “It’s definitely going to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy consumption, which will have an impact on our carbon footprint, which is what everything’s about,” said Hutchings. “I know it’s trying times for people, and people are concerned about kitchen table issues. But by reducing the costs, the operating costs at the Bruce II arena, people will still be able to go and enjoy the facilities there and spend time with their family and get some exercise and enjoy the facility, and it will cost the town less to operate it. So that’s helping communities and helping people, too.”

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