Out of the billion-dollar pool of B.C. funding meant to cushion the blow of population growth, Chilliwack’s share was $16.39 million.
City Council approved staff recommendations as to how to allocate the one-time cash disbursement from the provincial Growing Communities Fund at the last council meeting.
Among the capital projects and infrastructure improvements now set to go ahead are two major Chilliwack projects of more than $5 million each: the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s ‘biological treatment expansion,’ for $5.0 million, and $5.6 million for new racquet sport facilities.
“This grant funding will allow a number of priority projects to be advanced and funded sooner than otherwise possible, thereby, addressing many various infrastructure requirements within the community,” according to the city staff report of March 7 from the finance department.
Priority projects on the list include: public safety building renovation, pedestrian improvements, multi-use gaming areas, cycle pump tracks, Townsend Park bleachers, Valley Rail Trail improvements, Hope River Road trail, Neighbourhood Spray Park, and dog off-leash areas.
Now that it’s approved, staff will begin pre-planning for the projects meant to meet the need of growing populations like Chilliwack’s among the 188 B.C. communities.
When provincial officials announced the $1 billion fund, the release said they heard from local governments about the need for infrastructure and amenities to support growth.
“Infrastructure funding programs are routinely significantly oversubscribed. For example, there are six times more requests for funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Community, Culture and Recreation stream than what is available,” the release said.
The one-time fund of $1 billion dovetailed with the priorities of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).
“The announcement provides the largest single provincial investment in communities in our province’s history,” said Jen Ford, president, UBCM. “This unprecedented transfer will help meet the needs of growing populations through the expansion of facilities and replacement of aging infrastructure. It will also support climate adaptation to sustain service delivery and safeguard residents from the risks of extreme weather.”
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