The Federal Government is providing over $7.9 million to the City of Winkler to support the renovation of the Centennial Arena to complete Phase 2 of the Meridian Exhibition Centre.

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, announced the funding via a news release issued Thursday afternoon.

"Our Government is supporting infrastructure projects that make our communities stronger and more resilient. With this funding, residents of Winkler will have access to a modern and accessible sports and recreation facility they can enjoy well into the future,” said LeBlanc in the release.

The renovation will redevelop the existing arena tying in energy efficient systems, extensive code upgrades, safe spectator viewing, and inclusive public amenities. It will complete the vision for a fully accessible and functional regional facility.

“The timing of this announcement is ideal, with the recent completion of the Meridian Exhibition Centre," said Mayor Martin Harder in the release. "It allows the City of Winkler to further develop long term “Community Places” using existing investments that started over 56 years ago, and bringing those facilities to today’s standards. The Centennial Arena currently hosts the MJHL's Winkler Flyers, in addition to other local teams, and will provide a much-needed improvement to their base. This project puts the finishing touches on a multi-sport, multiuse facility which will serve us well for generations to come."

At the time the grant application was submitted the cost of the renovation was estimated at nearly $10 million, and the federal funding represented 80% of the total cost.

The Meridian Exhibition Centre Phase 1 project was 100% funded by the City.

Considering current market conditions, it’s expected the cost of the renovation is likely to exceed the original $10 million, but the City will continue to pursue other sources of funding.