The Strathcona Regional District will not be able to apply for a piece of the $218 million pie the federal and provincial governments are serving to local governments this year.
Tom Yates, acting chief administrative officer of the regional district, said the organization does not have any projects that are eligible.
“Staff are unable to identify any projects that would attract funding approval and therefore do not have a recommendation to apply for this round of the NBCF-SCF (New Building Canada Fund-Small Communities Fund) for any area jurisdiction,” Yates said. “In order to maximize the likelihood of success in obtaining future funding opportunities, staff will continue to advance the list of potential projects to develop strong rationale and greater project clarity.”
This is the second round of funding senior levels of government have made available under the Building Canada Fund.
During the first intake, the regional district submitted an application for two-thirds funding for seismic upgrades to the Quadra Island Community Centre – the island’s designated emergency reception centre that, during a 2013 evaluation, was found to be at risk of unrepairable damage in the event of a significant earthquake.
The board was told at its last meeting that the application to the grant program was denied.
Yates said the regional district had applied under the ‘disaster mitigation infrastructure’ category but was told recently by the ministry of transportation and infrastructure that the project is not eligible for the Building Canada Fund and was advised that the regional district not reapply.
Regional district staff also considered applying for lighting upgrades at Strathcona Gardens and the Quathiaski Cove sewer extension project on Quadra Island but neither project is far enough along, as projects must be shovel-ready to be eligible for funding.
Staff also looked at the Booster Pump Station in Area D but that project is already fully funded through federal grants, as well as proposed improvements to the water distribution system in Area D, but the scope of that project has not been fully defined yet. Yates said that project, as well as the sewer extension and lighting projects may be eligible in future intakes of the Building Canada Fund.
Projects that are eligible for funding under the New Building Canada Fund must relate to and promote economic growth, a cleaner environment, and stronger communities.
The City of Campbell River has benefited from the Building Canada Fund in the past. The Airport Runway Extension project garnered $4.7 million from the program and in 2014, the city was given access to a $3.4 million Building Canada grant given to the Strathcona Regional District for Area D sewer extension.
That money, however, was never used as Area D residents rejected city sewer service – and joining the city – in a referendum nearly two years ago.