ANTIGONISH: The town and county are paying off a deficit from the arena.

During the regular monthly meeting of Antigonish Town Council on March 18, elected members heard about an accumulated deficit for the Antigonish Arena of around $100,000.

The deficit accumulated over a number of years for a few reasons, said Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher. Boucher said there was a line of credit for which the town and county on were paying interest, and money was owed to the Canada Revenue Agency, which had to be paid by the end of March.

“Because we’re taking a deep dive into the arena and where the money is going, we decided that it would be good to have a fresh start for management,” Boucher said. “Starting from this fiscal year on, both the town and county decided to make this part of this year’s budget.”

Boucher said they will make sure it is paid off.

The mayor said they are in the midst of a study looking at where money is being spent and what they can do as an arena commission to stem the outflow of money and make sure they don’t return to a high deficit situation. She said it is hard for an arena anywhere to break even, let alone make money. However, it brings economic development to the area through things like tournaments and the Eastern Exhibition.

 

ANTIGONISH: Town council is hoping to see shovels in the ground this summer for the area’s skatepark.

Last month, New Line Skateparks received the contract to design Antigonish’s All Wheel Skatepark. During last week’s regular meeting of Antigonish Town Council, Mayor Laurie Boucher said the contract is for the construction of a park (at the agreed upon size) for which they have the money on hand, which is around $410,000.

“We will continue to fundraise,” said Boucher.

Boucher said they would like to construction on the park begin in July. She said they wanted to have the funding ready so they could keep their place in the queue, noting Newline is an aggressive company doing a lot of work in the Atlantic provinces.

“We’re hoping that we’ll have people skateboard on it in the fall,” said Boucher.

The skatepark association is looking to fundraise around $160,000 over the next few months. Organizers set up links on the association’s social media to canadahelps.org, a fundraising and donation Web site, where people can donate to the park project.

Boucher said they are hoping to reach around $600,000 total, which was within the original budget for the project.

 

ANTIGONISH: Municipal staff in the town and county are looking at their upcoming budgets.

Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said town staff are knee deep into the budget process and she understands they will bring something to council soon.

“We received all of our community grants and council is in the process of going over them,” said Boucher, adding they planned to meet on March 22 to determine how the grant money will be spent for the fiscal year.

Boucher said they’d like to have something delivered in the next month or so, adding it’s too early to say about what might happen with tax rates.

On the county side of things, municipal clerk-treasurer Glen Horne said staff are still pulling budget numbers. The deadline for the county’s grants program is March 29. Horne said he suspects staff will come to council with a potential budget and capital plan by the end of April. Horne said he anticipates a budget approval in May.