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Penticton gets provincial funding for arena

$40 million toward $56 million cost

The province is helping Penticton build a $56 million events centre, which will include two ice rinks.

This week the province announced it had approved long-term funding for the proposed South Okanagan Events Centre.

The $40 million in funding will flow to the centre in Penticton over the next decade through gaming revenues; that money is in addition to an almost $10 million provincial grant announced earlier this year.

"The project is expected to create 900 person-years of employment during two years of construction," said Small Business and Revenue Minister Rick Thorpe, MLA for Okanagan-Westside. "About $30 million will be spent in the local community during construction, creating economic growth for the region. Yes, we are creating opportunities for Penticton, the South Okanagan, our children and grandchildren."

The proposed facility includes:

• a 5,100-seat multi-purpose event centre with an Olympic-size ice rink, expandable to hold 6,500 spectators;

• a 475-seat community facility with an NHL-size ice rink;

• a home for the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame;

• an indoor, year-round walking track, potential health and wellness clinics and a restaurant.

The Events Center will attract more conventions to Penticton and delegates are estimated to spend $275 per day in the local economy. Overall the centre is expected to have an annual additional regional economic impact of $25 million.

The facility is scheduled to open in 2008.