Hartland’s long-awaited dream becomes reality with sod-turning

by | Oct 3, 2022

Town and provincial officials participate in ceremony to mark the start of construction for the Central Carleton Community Complex

Town and provincial officials gathered in Hartland Monday afternoon, Oct. 3, to put shovels in the ground to officially mark the beginning of the long-awaited construction of the Central Carleton Community Complex.

With significant signs of construction already visible behind the aging Hartland Arena, Hartland Mayor Tracey DeMerchant welcomed a trio of provincial representatives to grab a shovel and join her in the ceremonial event.

N.B. Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman, the minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation, Public Safety Minister and Carleton MLA Bill Hogan and Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister and Carleton-Victoria MLA Margaret Johnson joined the mayor in putting shovels into the ground.

Hartland Coun. Lee Patterson, co-chair of the fundraising committee, served as MC for the Monday afternoon ceremony.

“We’re very excited,” he said. “This has been a long time coming but worth the wait.”

Patterson said the seeds of the new complex date back more than 20 years when the town formed the first committee to pursue opportunities to replace the Hartland Arena, built in 1967. He, like many, thanked town officials, residents and outlying communities for making the modern complex possible. He noted residents of the local service districts agreed to a tax levy to help fund the project.
Patterson also praised the many volunteers who help with the community complex and many other projects in the town. “The volunteers of Hartland are what make us tick,” he said.

Mayor DeMerchant celebrated the sod-turning event, noting its long-term impact on Hartland and the surrounding communities.
“The Central Carleton Community Complex is a once-in-a-generation project. It will be the foundation for expanded recreational and community activities for residents of all ages,” said DeMerchant, in the media release. “A multi-faceted facility like this requires the combined efforts of many dedicated community leaders, indigenous stakeholders and funders, working in partnership with all three levels of government.”
Crossman said the RDC happily participated in the Hartland project, adding the provincial and federal governments would work with the town to find ways to fund cost overruns.

“Recreational facilities like this not only keep residents healthy, but they have both social and economic benefits for the community,” the minister said in a media release.

The federal government invested $3.6 million in the project through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The provincial government provided more than $2.9 million, while the town would contribute the balance of more than $2.4 million.

Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin, who did not attend the sod-turning ceremony, offered her congratulations in the media release.
“It’s an honour to be part of this project that will bring us closer and lead to a healthier and more resilient community,” she said. “Today, we are putting shovels to the ground to make a difference for the people of Hartland and beyond. By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is focusing on the vitality of our communities, increasing their resiliency and improving the lives of Canadians.”

Petterson acknowledged the project could face cost overruns as high as 15 to 20 per cent.
“This is COVID times, and with COVID times comes COVID prices,” he said. “With COVID prices comes creativity with fundraising and funds available, and we’ll use every resource we could possibly use.”

With crews already at work placing the building’s foundation, Patterson said the project is on schedule. He said work would continue through the winter if the weather and the supply chain cooperate. He and DeMerchant each cited 2024 as the ultimate target for the complex’s opening.

Hogan said the “long overdue” project would benefit Hartland and all of Carleton County.
“This is going to provide such a wonderful opportunity for the children and adults in this area. You know, all in one complex. It’s fantastic.”

Johnson, who attended the sod-turning from the neighbouring riding of Carleton-Victoria, reflected on the many years of attending hockey games in the freezing arena. “I wish you many days of not freezing your tushies off in an arena that’s state of the art,” she said.

Hartland Recreation Director Tanya Hawkes called the complex a game changer for the greater Hartland community.
In addition to the state-of-art arena, the complex will provide a community room for various social events, a sports room for various physical activities and a walking track.

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