The SRD board amended its financial plan to include recent grant funding for work on energy upgrades at Strathcona Gardens. File photo

Energy upgrades to move ahead at Campbell River recreation complex

Regional district amends financial plan to add grant funding for work

It was a little bit of a housekeeping on a big project.

The Strathcona Regional District board amended its 2018-2022 financial plan to take into account grant money that will be used to move along energy upgrade work at Strathcona Gardens.

The grants were received after the 2018 financial plan was completed. In March, the SRD received correspondence indicating that its application for grant funding was being approved.

“We’re just requesting the board’s authority to amend the financial plan to include this grant funding,” Chief Administrative Officer David Leitch told the board at the Nov. 7 meeting.

According to the SRD staff report, the money come from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Strategic Priorities Fund (previously known as Gas Tax) and is worth $4,605,939 and will cover energy upgrades at the facility.

Charlie Cornfield, one of the Campbell River directors, asked for clarification as to whether the funding was for part of the REC-REATE project, through which the Strathcona Gardens complex, which includes ice rinks, pools and other amenities, will be refurbished – a project that as a whole has been estimated at $21.8 million.

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Andy Adam, Campbell River’s mayor and another director on the SRD board, made a motion to amend the plan to include the grant funding, which passed unanimously.

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The grant funding from UBCM will be used for the installation of a comprehensive energy recovery system at Strathcona Gardens, which includes four parts: an energy recovery system, installation of high efficiency air handlers, ice melting pits and a 100-kW photo-voltaic solar system.

The SRD has until Dec. 31, 2020 to complete the work, meaning that the regional district needs to work on preliminary planning this fall and winter of 2018 and undertake this first phase of the project in 2019.

“To allow work to commence on this project with minimum delay it is recommended that the financial plan be amended to account for receiving this grant from the UBCM and allow for related expenses to be incurred,” the staff report states.

The SRD website notes that key elements of Strathcona Gardens date back to the 1970s and, according to studies as well as feedback from the public, it’s clearly in need of renewal, particularly in light of the important role it plays for people in the region.

“Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex is more than just a building,” the project description says. “It is a well-used recreational hub that contributes to the health and well-being of residents within the City of Campbell River, Electoral Area D and surrounding areas.”