The Tsuut’ina Nation was given a $2 million grant from the province on Wednesday that will be used to install a new ice plant at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex and officials say the initiative will increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The $2,156,686 grant was given through Alberta’s Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program and the money will be used to upgrade the facility’s water systems.

The province says the initiative will save the Nation about $89,000 a year in power and heating costs for the next three decades.

“Good thing we got in on this building before it was built so it didn’t have to be a retrofit but it fit the program anyways and now, as a result, this will be really a first-class, world-class community building that is also taking care of the environment in some great ways. Saving money for the Nation, year on year from now on, so they can spend that money doing other very important things in the community and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 600 tons a year,” said Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

The old arena was torn down to make room for the southwest ring road extension and the new facility will also serve as a community hall and recreation centre.

The building is under construction and when it is complete it will feature two NHL size rinks, a large gym, a running track, meeting rooms and three retail outlets.

Chief Lee Crowchild says the arena is the hub of the community and that the new facility will be a state-of the art athletic centre for all to enjoy.

“We are designing the venue to reflect and raise the spirit of our nation so that all those visiting will learn about our history and culture,” he said. “The energy efficient plan is not only an important investment for our nation. It symbolizes partnership and innovation.”

Chief Crowchild says solar panels will also be installed to provide power to the Nation’s Bullhead Community Hall, fire hall and Peacemaker Centre.

The grant is part of $35 million in funding that was collected through the carbon levy in 2017/18.