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Gander taking another run at multiplex funding

Town of Gander
Town of Gander - SaltWire File Photo

The Town of Gander is taking another shot at the idea of building a multiplex facility.
The town was denied provincial funding last year, but the province has opened the door to a second round of proposals.
The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.
The idea envisioned by the town is a state-of-the-art multiplex, a 35,000 sq. ft. building to serve as the permanent home for the local gymnastics club, as well as courts for other sports and amenities such as conference rooms. The facility would also include a rubberized track surrounding a field turf soccer pitch. 
The estimated cost for what they had in mind is over $29 million. 
“The detail of it is a work in progress,” Gander Mayor Percy Farwell told The Central Voice. “It is evolving as we go.
“We feel like we could have done a much better job of selling the project and clarifying to the province the merits of this project, how many stakeholders are involved and how many organizations and associations would benefit from using this,” said Farwell. “It would have great regional benefit.” 
Farewell noted the town has had discussions with the Qalipu First Nation Band about a possible collaboration. 
The town recognizes that a project with a hefty price tag is a big ask. 
However, they believe it is worth it. 
The feeling of council is that such a facility is needed in the town as Gander serves as a regional hub, as well as a provincial one. It hosts its fair share of provincial sporting tournaments and conferences. 
“It is a regional facility more than anything in that there would be things in it you won’t find anywhere else in the region,” said Farwell.
Contrary to what some in the region thought, the proposed facility would not include an ice surface.
In a press release in July, the province’s Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment said it anticipated making decisions on funding applications by winter 2020.
In Budget 2019, the province announced $129 million for municipal infrastructure.

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