Campbell River city council has approved, in principle, four grants for local business improvement associations and societies under the Community Beautification Grants Program, but the public still has a say in whether they think the money is being well-spent before the groups can receive the funds.
The proposals were approved at this week’s meeting of council, and the city is receiving feedback until they come back for consideration for final approval at the June 24 meeting.
The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association has been approved for a $10,000 grant – the maximum allowable under the program – to construct two more planter boxes to accompany the 39 already in place in the area, purchase flowers, soil and fertilizer for all 41 boxes, purchase and install 10 more banners along Highway 19A and Tamarac Street, as well as cover the initial permitting fees and professional services costs associated with the proposed airplane entrance feature at that end of town.
The Willow Point BIA has been approved for the maximum $10,000, as well, to purchase and install a box of LED string lights and Christmas decorations for the lamp posts in Willow Point, hire musical entertainment and purchase cupcakes for Canada Day events at Frank James Park, as well as purchasing hanging flower baskets for the lamp posts along Highway 19A from Hilchey Road to Erickson Road.
The Pier Street Association has also been approved for a $10,000 grant to purchase and install two benches and a picnic table for the sidewalk area along the waterfront and installing a wheelchair accessible binoculars viewing area.
The Downtown “Heart of the City” BIA has been approved for $6,652.82 to pressure wash sidewalks along Shoppers Row, perform plant and flower pot maintenance, install another way-finding sign at the corner of 10th Avenue and Shoppers Row and perform maintenance on the ones already installed, as well as refurbish the public benches downtown.
A few members of council questioned some aspects of the projects being approved on Monday night.
Coun. Michele Babchuk wondered why entertainment on Canada Day was being considered under a “beautification” grant, and Coun. Charlie Cornfield wondered about the city giving the CNA money that would essentially just be coming back to the city in the form of permitting fees anyway.
“Would we even be charging them fees?” Cornfield asked long range planning and sustainability supervisor Chris Osborne, who said there would be fees applied to a project on city land, such as the one being proposed by the CNA, adding that by approving this grant, they would essentially be waiving those fees, because, “that’s a fee that would normally be paid by an applicant to the city, so the city’s contribution in the form of the beautification grant would be applied toward the cost of those fees.”
“The one that jumps out to me,” Babchuk said, “is the one for the Willow Point BIA and the fact that part of the granting money is around Canada Day celebrations, and I was just wondering if that has historically happened through this granting opportunity,” saying she doesn’t think it really fits with the purpose of the grant program.
Osborne replied that while he couldn’t comment on whether it had been funded in the past under this program, “but normally a pretty broad view of ‘beautification’ is taken when considering these projects. While typically we think of physical improvements, there are also sometimes programmatic things that could be done under the rubric of this program, but ultimately it’s council’s decision whether to fund any of the particular items or not.”
To see the full proposals under consideration and to give feedback, visit City Hall from 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday or contact Osborne by email at email@example.com or by phone at 250-286-5745.