Courtenay and District Museum building | George Le Masurier photo
CV governments apply for infrastructure funds to ease pandemic economic recovery
All four of the Comox Valley’s local governments have applied for provincial funds designated to help BC communities recover from the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic.
The provincial government set aside $90 million to provide one-time, 100 percent funding for projects — up to $1 million each — that meet one of four objectives:
— Community economic resilience
— Destination development
— Unique heritage infrastructure
— Rural economic recovery
Projects will be chosen from the applications based on their contribution toward creating immediate new employment or re-employing laid-off workers. The projects have to begin before Dec. 31, 2021, and complete by March 31, 2023.
Decafnation asked each local government what they applied to do.
TOWN OF COMOX
Comox has applied to complete phase two of its marina enhancement plan. It hopes to receive funds for a new marine services building.
CITY OF COURTENAY
Courtenay city staff have worked with and supported the Courtenay Museum to renovate and build a new section onto the existing facility.
The city also negotiated with the provincial granting agency to get the Sixth Street bridge included. But the complexity and environmental aspects of the project could not meet the 2021 deadline for starting the construction.
VILLAGE OF CUMBERLAND
Cumberland applied to rebuild the village’s No. 2 dam, hydro generation and Unnamed Creek remediation project.
It has also applied for infrastructure development of water services on the Bevan Lands and infrastructure upgrades and improvement for Cumberland Lake Park. If the Bevan Lands project did not qualify for timing reasons, the village planned to also apply for renovations of the field house and washroom facilities at its Village Park.
In another application, Cumberland applied to the separate but related Childcare BC New Spaces Fund for up to $3 million to create new childcare spaces within the village.
COMOX VALLEY REGIONAL DISTRICT
The regional district submitted six applications, four to the federal infrastructure program and two to the province.
The federal applications include the Denman Island water treatment project, phase one of the Baynes Sound sewer extension project, a retrofit of the CV Sports Centre mezzanine area and a Shingle Spit boat launch project.
The provincial applications included expansion of the Seal Bay parking lot and the Merville Hall food hub project.
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I continue to be confounded by federal and provincial monies being made available to municipalities to complete infrastructure projects or retrofits which are designed to help with the recovery “from the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic.” infrastructure and retrofit projects target jobs held mostly by men. And yet, we are told over and again that the pandemic hit women’s livelihoods far more than it did men’s livelihoods. Of our four municipal jurisdictions, only Cumberland applied to a SEPARATE but related funding package that targets the creation of “new childcare spaces.” Yes, the municipalities were given very little wiggle room in the areas under the grants to which they could apply, But, what about thinking outside the box? For example, under the objective described as “community economic resilience,” why not seek targeted grant monies to enhance the care economy? Yes, childcare spaces, but also the hiring and training of more care aides for elder facilities and in hospitals. How about monies targeting the standardization of care education and training in colleges? And what about monies to support and expand organizations and agencies that assist women in leaving dangerous relationships since violence against women and children, we are told, has only increased during the pandemic?
Don’t let the federal and provincial governments loose sight of the target during this recovery and, municipal governments, when you’re given the chance, take the initiative to think creatively about helping those who have been most economically hurt by this pandemic: your wife, your daughter, your sister, your mother, your auntie and the many women you don’t know, but who may provide care to one of you relatives when they most need it.
The town of Comox, the city of Courtenay and the CVRD all have large reserve funds. The village of Cumberland needs support in the basics of water and sewage treatment. Basic infrastructure for a local goverment that houses the yougest community in the Comox Valley.
In term of local Goverment wealth and capacity to spend, just take a look at local Government office buildings and you will know who has all the money.