City of Powell River approves grant application for recreation complex upgrades

Bid to be submitted

City of Powell River Council has approved a grant application that would bring upgrades to Powell River Recreation Complex.

At the October 15 city council meeting, councillors voted to apply for more than $6.6 million in federal-provincial grant money that would cover 90 per cent of the cost of the project. The city would have to come up with $662,400 if the grant is approved.

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Councillor Jim Palm, who is the portfolio holder for recreation, said he was glad that staff at the recreation complex had been proactive to bring this grant forward.

“Because of the study we have recently done in terms of seismic and upgrades to our recreation complex, we are in a much-enhanced position to submit a grant application and perhaps gain a tremendous amount of funds toward the start of the rebuild of that facility,” said Palm. “This is 90 per cent dollars, with 10 per cent from our community forest. Without our community forest, this would not be happening. We know what kind of shape we are in financially and we can’t thank our community forest enough for what they do to allow these types of grants to go forward.”

Palm said he hopes this will start the rebuild of the facility, which will enhance its life and durability for the next 20 to 30 years.

Councillor George Doubt said some of these projects are going to be necessary to maintain the city’s flagship resource and to have an opportunity to get that covered with $6 million of grant funding, plus money from the community forest, means no tax dollars would be expended.

“It’s a great opportunity and I support it,” said Doubt.

Councillor Maggie Hathaway said she was a little surprised when hearing a report from the architects who put together the draft plan, and the amount of money the recreation complex is looking for to spend on upgrades. She said this comes at a time when the city is moving forward with the liquid waste treatment plant and examining construction of an emergency services building to house the fire department.

“I’m going to vote in favour of this because of the 90 cent dollars,” said Hathaway. “I’ve never seen that before and it’s a huge grant opportunity, but I think we need to sit down and set some priorities for all of the projects that need to be done. When you look at the overall recreation complex report, there were millions and millions of dollars there.”

Council gave unanimous support to the grant submission.

At the October 13 committee of the whole meeting, director of parks, recreation and culture Ray Boogaards outlined a recommendation to apply for $6,624,000 for recreation complex facility improvements, and to allocate $662,400 from the community forest reserve fund to cover the city’s portion of the project costs.

Boogaards said this was the first grant that would be brought forward to council to support development of the recreation complex architectural rehabilitation plan. Boogaards said the funding under the federal-provincial infrastructure program provided 90 per cent funding for projects, so if the application was successful, the city would have to come up with 10 per cent of the projected cost, which he was recommending come from Powell River Community Forest.

He said the city had been given guidelines and requested that it not apply for too much because the funders are trying to spread this money around the province. He added that the plan will help take the recreation complex forward for the next 20 to 25 years, as outlined in the rehabilitation plan.

Boogaards said the department would be coming forward with a complete plan, including financial, regarding how the city might plan for recreation complex projects.

He said that application had to be made to the grant funders by October 22, so he was asking that the matter be discussed by council at its October 15 meeting.

“I just want to remind you about how important the recreation complex is,” said Boogaards.

Boogaards identified three projects for the grant application. The first is upgrading exterior walls and recladding them with metal panels. This is valued at $1.8 million. The second is replacing the pool roof and rink roof, valued at $1.5 million. Seismic upgrading is the third priority, valued at $1.5 million. The grant application would include engineering, valued at $720,000, and a 20 per cent contingency, valued at $1,104,000.

“These projects do fall into council’s strategic priorities,” said Boogaards. This includes climate change adaptation and mitigation, and progressive governance.

“This is what council is looking for and, by my understanding, is where we need to go as a municipality,” said Boogaards. “We will look wherever we can find funding opportunities. This is the first and we will require a council resolution.”

Doubt said the fact that the study has been ongoing for a period of time puts the city in a position to be prepared to apply for a grant. He said if the city is successful in procuring the grant, and if the community forest is willing to share in the cost sharing, he’s in favour of that.

Boogaards said he has submitted the grant application to the community forest.

Councillor Jim Palm said he wanted to thank Boogaards and staff for the work put into preparing his report to council, and the application to the federal-provincial infrastructure program.

“I think they have all of the right priorities here,” added Palm.

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