Sault Online link: An Updated Look at Anishinaabek Discovery Centre
On Wednesday, Parliamentary Secretary Marco Mendicino was welcomed into Sault Ste. Marie by MP Terry Sheehan.
Marco Mendicino, Parliamentary Assistant to the Federal Minister of Infrastructure has began a tour of Ontario, with visits in Toronto and Timmins before his arrival in Sault Ste. Marie.
His visit in the Sault consisted of three stops including the city’s soon to be demolished McMeeken Community Centre and the Stormwater Management Pond, but media was invited to an updated look at the Anishinaabek Discovery Centre.
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SKG has received $10.2 million from the federal government for the yet to be completed centre, construction of which began in Sept. 2017, scheduled for a grand opening this fall.
While Wednesday’s visit to the centre was not an additional federal government funding announcement, Mendicino said “this is a tremendously important place when it comes to ensuring meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”
“This is something that enjoys the support of Chief Bellegarde (Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations). We’re looking forward to coming back and officially opening this centre.”
“We have to partner on a people to people and government to government basis. It’s been good to walk through this wonderful centre which reflects Indigenous architecture and traditions and to be able to speak with Della,” Mendicino said.
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Mendicino said the Government of Canada is prepared to provide the money to upgrade or rebuild cultural and recreational projects and green infrastructure projects identified by municipalities in Ontario but it needs the Province of Ontario to launch its process, vet applications and provide a focus list to the federal government.
“That’s how our program works,” Mendicino said. “I’m here on behalf of the Minister of Infrastructure to see what these needs look like.”
He said the federal government wants co-operation, collaboration and dialogue between all three levels of government but the Ontario government has been stalling.
Mendicino saw and heard how the well-used west end arena has been repeatedly repaired and patched to extend its life. He also heard about the carbon monoxide issue that shut down the arena for weeks, leaving user groups without an ice surface.
“You’ve got a 21 century Zamboni sitting in a 20th century community centre which is long past (it’s lifespan) and we’re here to say we want to partner with the City of Sault Ste. Marie as we have done in a number of other areas,” he said. “We need to continue to work with all three levels of government… but we need the provincial government to open up that stream.”