Seismic funding targeted

The Strathcona Regional District is taking another shot at securing grant funding to carry out seismic improvements on Quadra Island’s emergency reception centre.

The regional board is submitting an application for a piece of a $43.2 million Canada 150 Community Infrastructure grant aimed at helping local governments rehabilitate existing community infrastructure.

Area C Director Jim Abram said it’s vital that the board secure some form of grant funding to upgrade the Quadra Island Community Centre. In a 2013 evaluation, the building – the island’s designated emergency centre – was found to be at risk of unrepairable damage in the event of a significant earthquake.

“I think it’s an important point for them to realize it is the emergency point for the entire island,” Abram said. “It’s also bursting at the seams. It definitely needs upgrades and work.”

Victoria Smith, the regional district’s special projects and sustainability manager, said the community centre was given top priority for the grant program – followed by playground upgrades at Hagel Park – for several reasons.

“The board has made two resolutions directing staff to apply for any future funding opportunities for this project and the project is at a more advanced stage than the Hagel Park Playground Upgrade,” Smith said. “Importantly, the Community Centre is intended to be an emergency reception centre for the community.”

The project is also underpinned by a comprehensive engineering study, including cost estimates, and a letter of support from the Quadra Island community.

The board, though, has previously tried to secure grant funding for the centre. 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.

Last month, the board rescinded its direction to staff to re-apply to the same Building Canada Fund once again after regional district staff was advised by the ministry of transportation and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.