Back to the drawing board for Quadra Community Centre

Regional district staff confirm centre not eligible for seismic upgrade

It’s back to square one for the Quadra Island Community Centre after the Strathcona Regional District board rescinded a directive to apply for grant money for seismic improvements.

At its Thursday board meeting, on the advice of its staff, directors agreed to take back a decision to apply to the New Building Canada Fund.

Victoria Smith, special projects and sustainability manager for the regional district, said staff have been unable to confirm that the community centre is an eligible project.

“A representative from the ministry of community, sport and cultural development has confirmed that the seismic upgrade of the Quadra Island Community Centre is not an eligible project under the (New Building Canada Fund),” Smith said. “This is consistent with previous advice received from a representative of the ministry of transportation and infrastructure.”

Last year, the regional district was denied funding under the New Building Canada Fund which provides one-third funding from each of the federal and provincial governments, with the applicant making up the remainder.

In February, Smith told the board that the regional district was advised by the ministry of transportation and infrastructure to not reapply for a second intake of the program because the project is not eligible.

The board, however, received new information shortly afterwards that caused directors to reconsider.

Area C Director Jim Abram, who represents Quadra Island, told the board at its Feb. 25 meeting that he had met with Peter Fassbender, the minister of community, sport and cultural development, and that Fassbender encouraged him to resubmit the project.

Abram said he was advised that the project may not have been evaluated properly the first time around because the project was not submitted under the right category.

The board, on Abram’s advice, voted at that time to have staff reapply to the New Building Canada Fund but also asked staff to get verbal confirmation of the project’s eligibility.

Last week, Smith reported back that the ministry of community, sport and cultural development confirmed the project’s ineligibility but added that staff will “monitor grant funding opportunities that may be relevant.”

The board voted to have staff pursue any and all future opportunities for funding as the project has been on the table for years.

The Quadra Island Community Centre – the island’s designated emergency reception centre –  was found during a 2013 evaluation to be at risk of unrepairable damage in the event of significant earthquake.