With a federal election expected this fall, the Ontario's Northern Development Minister couldn't resist taking a pre-emptive swipe at the NDP and Liberals, during yesterday's announcement in Dryden.

While the announcement itself was about $97,000 for a fan condenser unit to help refrigerate the ice surfaces, Greg Rickford used the opportunity to take some election-style swipes at his political opponents.

"Those are things (announcements) that a politician has got to do, and I think it's unfortunate that Dryden hasn't seen enough of that, especially in the last couple of years," Rickford said, after the announcement. "They've been promised a lot, but so far -- federally -- they've just not been able to deliver to the local community, and I'm here to make a difference."

Rickford succeeded NDP member Sarah Campbell, and her mentor Howard Hampton at Queen's Park, after being defeated in the last federal election by Liberal MP Bob Nault.

The lone conservative member for the northwest has taken a big role in Doug Ford's cabinet, overseeing energy, northern development and Indigenous affairs.

"The real way to frame it is the voters have put their trust in the Progressive Conservatives to make investments that matter," Rickford continued.

Through the DREAM Team, the arena is in the process of overdue upgrades. The funds announced by the minister will help pay for a new fan condenser unit.

The new $298,000 unit replaces a 40-year-old unit that had by far exceeded its operating life expectancy, and the new unit will be more energy efficient. The current unit was commissioned in 1978, and was rebuilt in 2004.

The unit serves both ice surfaces. The city says that during recent inspections of the existing mechanical components of the arena complex, the fan condensing unit was identified as a high priority need due to its age, critical nature of the refrigeration process and potential for an ammonia release. 

With a federal election this fall, the minister didn't hesitate to take a pre-emptive swipe at the NDP, as well as the Liberals.

"Those are things (announcements) that a politician has got to do, and I think it's unfortunate that Dryden hasn't seen enough of that, especially in the last couple of years. They've been promised a lot, but so far -- federally -- they've just not been able to deliver to the local community, and I'm here to make a difference," the minister continued.

Rickford - who is also the provincial member for Kenora-Rainy River -- is set to visit the City of Kenora Friday, where he'll be joined by Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski for talks with local forest companies.

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