Funding not tied to byelection: Les

The quality of the projects, not a byelection, is the reason behind recent government funding announcements, says Chilliwack MLA John Les.

The quality of the projects, not a looming byelection, is the reason behind a flurry of recent government funding announcements, says Chilliwack MLA John Les.

Five projects, from Chilliwack to Boston Bar, were approved for funding totalling $1.8 million, with Les attending three of those announcements on Monday.

But the much-anticipated byelection in Chilliwack-Hope had nothing to do with the funding, Les said.

“What this has to do with is the premier’s announcement of $30 million for recreation programs at the UBCM last September,” he said.

Premier Christy Clark announced the fund to provide B.C. families with more access to recreation facilities to promote healthy lifestyles.

“Just because there’s a byelection on the horizon doesn’t mean that (communities in the riding) are cut off from funding,” Les said.

And the announcements were being made “all over the province” last weekend, he added, not just in the Chilliwack-Hope riding.

Applications by communities for the funding started in November, and Les said he suspected the program was “significantly over-subscribed.”

“I was pretty happy some worthwhile projects around the region got funded,” he said.

Those projects included $250,000 for Townsend Park in Chilliwack, $400,000 towards a new indoor recreation facility in Harrison Hot Springs, $750,000 towards expansion of a gymnasium and multi-purpose rooms in Agassiz, $336,800 to upgrade the Almer Carlson pool and build an outdoor community pavilion in Boston Bar and $114,567 to expand the Cheam Wetlands Park trail in Popkum.

According to a government news release, 93 more projects were approved for funding from the Community Recreation Program. With municipal contributions, the total value of the projects is more than $70 million, which will create an estimated 458 direct jobs and 251 indirect jobs.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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