HALIFAX: Those overseeing rinks and arenas in Nova Scotia can get help from a new fund.

Last week, the provincial government announced it is investing in the new $1 million Rink Revitalization Fund to help communities make much-needed repairs and upgrades to aging rinks. The fund will help arena owners and operators with projects such as replacing boards, upgrading refrigeration, improving seating and renovating canteens, the province said.

Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster said since the start of the global pandemic, many facilities around the province have been struggling to remain open and maintain programs.

“There’s been a lot of arenas around the province who depended on fundraisers, or have always depended on fundraisers to help fund their operations,” MacMaster told The Reporter. “With COVID, with the pandemic, a lot of those fundraisers couldn’t take place. As a result, these arenas they suffered because of that. They were depending on those revenues and didn’t have them. This fund is try to help them, and recognizing what they’ve gone through.”

The province said it has already invested $1.67 million in sport and recreation infrastructure in 2021-22 through the Recreation Facility Development Grant, and applications for that fund will open again in early 2022.

“Rinks bring people of all ages together, support health and well-being, and create important jobs and economic opportunities,” said Pat Dunn, Minister of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage. “The Rink Revitalization Fund will help these important hubs continue to serve their communities, especially in our rural towns.”

The province added that applications for the Rink Revitalization Fund will open in the coming weeks, and more information on the fund will be available at: https://cch.novascotia.ca/.