The Strathcona Regional District wants to fix up a shoreline site on one of the Discovery Islands.
At the Jan. 9 board meeting, SRD manager of park and planning Aniko Nelson outlined a grant opportunity that could fund work at Read Island.
“We have an exciting opportunity in front of us,” she said.
Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Rural and Northern Communities grants are available for smaller communities, those with fewer than 25,000 people. The program, though, covers 100 per cent of funding for communities with fewer than 5,000 people. The 2016 census lists Read Island’s population as 66.
“The grant looks at infrastructure projects,” Nelson said.
The federal and provincial governments are investing up to $95 million for the initial phase of ICIP projects. Specifically, these will support projects for food security; road, air or marine infrastructure; broadband connectivity; efficient and reliable energy; Indigenous heath and education facilities; community, cultural and recreation; local public transit; improved resilience to natural events; and environmental quality.
“Senior staff have identified the Surge Narrows store site an an eligible project for consideration,” she said. “In addition to that, the project has been supported by the Read Island community.”
At Read Island, the work would be to restore or rebuild the store, which closed in 2007, a boardwalk and a floating dock. The store, wharf and a fuel shed have since fallen into disrepair, says the SRD staff report. Nelson told the board they are working with a professional on a schematic site design that would include adding 300 more feet of additional walk space.
The challenge with the grant is there is a quick turnaround time to apply. The deadline is Jan. 23.
Area C Director Jim Abram added that Nelson had to work over the recent holidays to prepare the grant application because of the short timeline.
“It sort of puts our staff under the gun,” he said.
The board voted to approve the grant application.