The cash has finally come in for the City of Flin Flon and its plans to replace the Flin Flon Aqua Centre.
According to a joint announcement from the federal and provincial governments released July 20, both governments now officially plan to issue several million dollars apiece to "construct a new energy-efficient community aqua centre and recreational facility". Between the feds, province and the City of Flin Flon, more than $8.6 million in total funds are confirmed to be going to the project.
"In Flin Flon, funding will build a new Community Aqua Centre and Recreational Facility to replace the former facility, which was closed in 2020 due to structural concerns. The new energy-efficient facility will increase and improve community programs and recreational activities, encouraging residents to swim, train, and stay healthy," reads the July 20 announcement.
A funding breakdown shows that the project will get $3,464,000 in funding from the federal government, $2,886,378 from the provincial government and $2,309,622 marked as "recipient funding". Funds from the federal side came from the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) - the granting program the City of Flin Flon first applied to when preparing to fund an Aqua Centre replacement in 2019. The City has used the program to fund renovations to the Flin Flon Community Hall and the City's bus garage in the past.
City councillor Karen MacKinnon, one of the project's major local supporters, said she was overwhelmed with emotion when she heard the news.
"I was so happy... I cried, I was so happy," she said.
In a province-issued news release, Flin Flon Mayor Cal Huntley said the funding for the project was good news for Flin Flon and surrounding communities.
“This investment in our community and region cannot be undersold. It is so important not only to the character of our city, but the safety and health as well. After all, we are the land of 100,000 lakes,” he is quoted as saying.
“Myself and all facets of my community from the children to the seniors are unbelievably excited about this announcement. Given everything that’s going on, the timing couldn’t be better.”
Replacing Flin Flon's only indoor pool facility has been a main priority for the City of Flin Flon over the past few years, especially since the facility was closed in January 2020, shut down for good in February and demolished last winter. In Sept. 2019, Flin Flon city council approved a plan to spend $8.8 million, most of which would involve money from provincial and federal grants, to build a new Aqua Centre facility and authorized the City to borrow $1.8 million to ease the path to making the plan work.
The funding was announced as part of a larger announcement covering funding for several projects throughout Manitoba, including over $10 million for a new outdoor sports complex in Brandon, about $7 million for a new arena and event centre in Minnedosa, just under $700,000 for the Grace Lake Boardwalk and Trail near The Pas and other projects.
The City of Flin Flon plans to hold a public event July 21 at Flin Flon City Hall at 11:30 a.m. to formally announce the plan.