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Municipalities vie for federal grants

Municipalities vie for federal grants

Both Gibsons and Sechelt are applying for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s BC COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream grants.
At a special council meeting on Jan. 25, Gibsons council endorsed making an application for $316,234 to renovate its building at 494 South Fletcher. A verbal report from Director of Infrastructure Dave Newman about the proposed application was presented at the Jan. 19 regular council meeting. Council members asked for written details. With an application deadline of Jan. 27 looming, the special council meeting was required to make the decision to ask for funding for the renovation to create additional office space for Town personnel. The renovation will see two single occupancy offices, a shared workspace, a meeting room, file storage space and a reception area created.
Newman advised council that the Town had no other capital projects at the “shovel ready” stage that would be eligible for this grant program. He noted that if applying for the grant was not approved by council or if the application was not successful, staff would be raising this project for consideration in the Town’s 2021 capital budget.
The space to be modified was formerly leased from the Town by Vancouver Coastal Health. Approximately half of the lower floor of the building was renovated in 2019. Those areas are now occupied by the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization and by the Town’s new Tourist Information Centre.
On Jan. 20, Sechelt council endorsed making an application for $3,239,000 to that same grant program to fund improvements to its active transportation network. Work covered under the application would create safer walking and cycling routes in West Sechelt and West Porpoise Bay, in addition to improving trail connections between those two neighbourhoods. Proposed projects include constructing a multi-use pathway along Mason Road, from Highway 101 to Reeves Road, gravel trail upgrading in the area of Reeves, and improvements made along the Crowston Trail. Ripple Way would also be widened to provide 1.5-meter wide bike lanes on both sides of that route linking Kinnikinnick Elementary School and Kinnikinnick Park.
In the East Porpoise Bay neighbourhood, Sechelt plans to build a 3.5 meter wide paved multi-use path along Burnett Road, from its waterfront area on Sechelt Inlet to Sechelt Inlet Road. A similar pathway is being planned for along Sechelt Inlet Road, from Burnett Road to the Porpoise Bay Provincial Park boundary.
Applicants are eligible to have the full cost of their projects covered by these grants. The federal government is providing over $3 billion to provinces and territories to fund quick-start, short-term projects not eligible under the existing funding programs.
Anticipated dates for announcements of grant awards were not provided. Program criteria states that municipalities successful in receiving grant funding must commit to starting the work by this September and complete their projects by the end of the
year.
Sechelt’s staff was successful in securing remote community status from the program administrators for its application. If awarded a grant, Sechelt will have up to the end of 2022 to complete any approved works.
Connie Jordison

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