City council has accepted a report from city staff in regards to submitting an application for a government funded recreation program.
The Community Recreation Program was announced by the province at the end of October and provides funding to municipalities and regional districts, with a priority towards smaller communities.
According to the Government of B.C. website, the $30-million Community Recreation Program was created to “address the unique challenges faced by communities in the province with respect to meeting their recreational infrastructure needs. The program will invest in local government capital projects that make communities healthier, more active places in which to live.”
There would be a cost sharing formula, which would see the provincial government contributing 80 per cent to a maximum of $400,000 for recreational infrastructure in support of healthier families.
The aim is to increase physical activity by providing greater access to recreation facilities, including trails, recreation centres, bike paths, walkways and playgrounds.
Should Grand Forks be successful in its application, city staff noted that costs exceeding $400,000 would have to come from city coffers, specifically from the Slag Fund Revenue Reserve Fund.
Of the three options provided by city staff, it was recommended that Dick Bartlett Park see upgrades including a green gym, water park and a walking/bike path route.
The renovations to the walking/bike path route would add to the City’s Bicycle Network Plan.
The added route would go south along 19th Street, west along 68th Avenue, and north on either 27th Street or Spraggett Road (the road going north has yet to be decided), east along Highway 3 and 25th Street, south to 72nd Avenue and continuing east to the park.
City staff recommended the upgrade to Dick Bartlett Park that would include the walking/bike path with an estimated cost of $500,000.
Should the city receive approval for the grant, there would be a maximum of $100,000 city contribution funded from the Slag Sales.
Diane Heinrich, city corporate officer, noted the application for the grant has already been submitted to meet the Dec. 28 deadline.
“It’s going to be up in the air until we hear from the province,” she stated. “Until that time there’s not too much information. They didn’t give a date for when it would be approved by, so we’re in the waiting game like everyone else.”
Located behind Grand Forks Recreation and across from the developing Silver Kettle Village, Mayor Brian Taylor felt the program would be beneficial for everyone.
“It’s clearly going to be a big advantage to them for those who will be living at Silver Kettle,” Taylor said. “But the new upgrades aren’t just for the seniors. There will also be a lot of youth work and family work as well with the water park located by the pool. The outside fitness area will also be visited by a good cross-section of the community.”
Taylor added the length of the project has also yet to be determined until they hear a response from the government.
“We’re waiting to see what the government decides before we can start planning to upgrade the park and the walking/bike path route,” he concluded.
The other options by city staff – that council passed on – took into account upgrades to a facility re-development of the library for the exterior lower floor access and the lower floor interior upgrade.
Another version of improvements to Dick Bartlett Park had a walking/running track rather than a route, and finally, an added lawn bowling facility in City Park.
For more information on the Community Recreation Program, visit cdcd.gov.bc.ca.