Not Much Known About Denied Arena Bid: Nicholls, Council Respond

“Very disappointing looking at neighbouring communities that have seen senior level investment in multi sport complexes in the past.”

Those are the words of Chatham-Kent councillor Brock McGregor, and those are the sentiments felt by many across the Municipality of Chatham-Kent after learning the Municpality’s bid for government funding for a twin-pad arena was denied.  

“We are following up with government officials on the details of the decision which was forwarded to us,” Thomas Kelly, General Manager Infrastructure and Engineering Services for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent wrote to

“Chatham-Kent put forward a very strong application that addressed all of the criteria referenced by the government.”

At this time, that’s all that is known.

“Other than the letter we received that said we didn’t get the funding, I have not heard anything else,” Mayor Darrin Canniff responded regarding the denied funding.

The government’s response to the plan, which was set to build a twin-pad arena and multi-sport community centre to replace Chatham-Kent’s ageing facilities stated that the project was denied “following an evidence-based provincial review process.”

When asked why Chatham-Kent’s proposal was not successful, local MPP Rick Nicholls did not give specifics, but stated the demand for the funding was immense.

“As with most grant applications, not all get approved,” said Nicholls.

“The requests from Community, Culture and Recreation were astonishing. Over 1100 applications were received across the Province worth more than $10 Billion.”

“The stream had only $267 Million of Provincial funding available.”

With new facilities across neighbouring Essex, Middlesex, and Elgin Counties, frustration locally is growing, with millions now needed to repair and maintain Chatham-Kent’s outdated and deteriorating arenas.

Memorial and Erickson Arenas were slated to be closed or re-purposed following the construction of a new complex

Chatham-Kent’s bid to build a new arena has been a lengthy one, with attempts to build a new complex now spanning multiple decades.

Nicholls’ message for Chatham-Kent – try again next year.

“I would think that CK could apply in subsequent years,” he concluded in his statement.

Chatham-Kent will undoubtedly apply again, but the cost the community will incur maintaining facilities which many see as embarrassing to the community, is money that could have been spent breaking ground on a community hub and twin-pad arena.

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