The Strathcona Regional District is making another attempt to get some funding for their Strathcona Gardens facility.
The regional district has submitted an application to the second intake of the Canada-British Columbia Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation grant to offset some of the costs to renovate the aging facility. This time they have narrowed the focus down to just look at the aquatic space, wellness area, rehab area and weight room. At this time, the ice surfaces are not part of the proposed project. For the grant itself, they are only applying for funding to cover the fitness and wellness area. The money for the pool will come out of the project’s reserve funds.
“In talking to the funders they said to pull a piece of the facility out and make an application for that,” said chief administrative officer Dave Leitch during the October 2 Strathcona Gardens Commission meeting. “We’ve dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s and made sure that they can’t come back with anything to say ‘geez it didn’t fit within these parameters.’”
In the first intake of the grant — which the SRD also applied for — most of the successful applicants were awarded with around $9-10 million. The SRD’s original ask was for much more than that, as the application was for the entire facility. The wellness area’s price tag is roughly $13 million, which brings the grant portion down to roughly $9.5 million.
“What we do need, and we have this month to submit it, is a resolution from the board that says that they can support the additional funding that the province wouldn’t provide to us, which is about $3.5 million,” Leitch said during the Oct. 2 meeting. “We easily have that in cash, so the resolution is that we can support the additional funding in there.”
Commissioners were eager to continue with the application, and were worried that this could be the last chance they get to receive funding from the provincial government because of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pretty soon the money’s going to start drying up all together, so we’ve got to really push for this. We’ve been turned down a couple of times, so we need to get something from them before all of their program funding collapses,” said commissioner Brenda Leigh. “I think this is the last chance hotel.”
“That will depend on the federal government and how much they want to dig into that magical pot of money that keeps appearing,” replied commissioner and chair Andy Adams. “Let’s go in on this intake and hope for the best.”
The item was brought to the regional board on Oct. 21 for final approval. That motion passed, and the application was to be put forth to the granters.