Hoback calls on federal government to fund Prince Albert project

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback released a letter to federal Minister of Infrastructure Francoise-Phillipe Champagne requesting he revisit funding for a new multiplex. (Herald file photo)

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback has submitted a letter to the federal government asking it to revisit rejected funding for a new multiplex facility.

The City of Prince Albert’s proposal said the multiplex would include a pool, splash park, lazy river, two small rinks and a larger one for the Raiders.

Francoise-Phillipe Champagne, federal minister of infrastructure, sent it back because “a new arena for a semi-pro hockey sporting franchise…is explicitly defined as ineligible under the (funding agreement).”

He said portions of the proposal may be accepted with a reworked proposal.

Hoback said in his letter to Champagne that the Raiders are not a professional hockey team. Mayor Greg Dionne voiced the same thing in an interview on Tuesday.

“The Prince Albert Raiders are a major junior hockey team,” wrote Hoback. “Major junior hockey is the highest level of amateur hockey in North America The team is also community owned.”

There were 25 proposals submitted for federal funding in Saskatchewan and Prince Albert’s is the only one that was rejected.

However, the agreement also excludes funding for major junior hockey teams.

In an interview, Hoback argued that the arena will also be used by recreational leagues.

“It’s more than just a major junior hockey facility in the city of Prince Albert,” he said.

“If you look at the arenas they’ve funded, some of those I’m sure are used by either CHL or WHL teams. What’s frustrating is we’re seeing a lot of funding going to ridings held by Liberals.”

Premier Scott Moe said in a Tuesday interview that funding “will not be used as Ralph Goodale’s election fund,” referring to funding for two Regina pools in Goodale’s riding.

Hoback echoed the premier’s statement: “It looks to us that the Liberals played politics with this money to try to benefit Minister Goodale.”

“(This is) a chance for the minister to correct the mistake and come forward with the funding.”

The Government of Canada provided the Herald with an emailed statement regarding Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. It said it was funded in 2009, when professional sports teams were eligible.

“Under the terms and conditions of our current programming the Government of Canada is focusing its funding on community sport and recreational facilities that are primarily for the benefit of local residents and amateur sports.”

with files from Peter Lozinski