If local government meetings had themes, “grants and more grants” would have fit the Feb. 19 Sechelt council meeting. From infrastructure improvements to social planning, Sechelt council is looking for funds from outside of its own coffers to support projects.
A second BC Air Access (BCAAP) program grant worth just under $1.35 million is being sought to complete runway resurfacing and extension at the airport. That project was announced in 2019, with the award of a $1.04 million BCAAP grant to the district. That grant was intended to pay for 75 per cent of the required work. When detailed engineering studies were completed in late 2019 and the work was tendered, project costs ballooned to $3.2 million.
Sechelt will hold off on awarding the contract for the project until it hears if its second grant application is successful. With both grants in place, Sechelt would need to contribute close to $800,000 to complete the work. At the meeting, council endorsed a motion to ask other Coast local governments to help fund improvements to the region’s airport.
Council also endorsed a BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program application for Wharf Avenue sidewalk construction. This potential grant would cover 70 per cent of that project’s estimated cost of $685,000. It may also be possible for the Sechelt Downtown Business Association to secure funding of up to $200,000 from the Island Coastal Economic Trust that could be used to help pay the remaining project costs.
That project, which was first proposed by district staff over 20 years ago, would see a two-metre wide sidewalk built on the west side of Wharf Avenue between Cowrie and Dolphin Street. Council members expressed concerns with two areas of the redesign that staff proposed. Inclusion of a mid-block crosswalk was recommended. Council also wants to ensure that the turning radius of the Highway 101 intersection is engineered so that it is safe for vehicles waiting at the light when large trucks are turning onto Wharf.