The final $10 million is in place, allowing work to begin on the city's westside Crossings Ice Complex.
After Lethbridge West MLA Greg Weadick confirmed the long-awaited provincial grant Friday, city officials announced construction will begin next year. Hockey and curling ice could be ready by December 2015.
"I can't wait to get this project done," Weadick said.
In addition to the $10-million grant - matching a federal Building Canada Fund grant announced early this year - the MLA pointed out $15.8 million has already been committed to the project from the province's Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
Two full-sized skating arenas and a 10-sheet curling rink will be built on a site adjacent to Chinook High School, at a cost estimated at $41.35 million. City taxpayers will pay the remaining $5.5 million.
Weadick, the associate minister for municipal affairs, said the provincial government is committed to working with local communities on their priority projects.
Work on securing construction grants began in 2010, pointed out Mayor Rajko Dodic. Incumbent MP Rick Casson was strongly supportive, he said - but then a federal election was called and city officials had to retrace their steps.
Weadick and Lethbridge East MLA Bridget Pastoor were onboard as well.
"Then another election was called," further delaying the process, said Dodic.
"But Greg was not to be deterred."
Preliminary planning has begun, city recreation and culture manager Ashley Matthews reported, but detailed design work could take up to nine months. That means construction should begin next fall.
Work is expected to take two years, he added. So 2015-16 would the last winter for the city's curling club, in its old rink on 6 Avenue South. The 64-year-old building has roof problems and lacks insulation, Mathews says, and would need about $7 million in repairs to operate much longer.
Games and recreation will continue in the adjoining Civic Ice Centre, however, because the city still won't have sufficient ice time when the twin arenas open. The downtown arena is expected to remain open until additional new facilities are built.