Updated: Kootenay communities benefit from gas tax dollars

The project is one of 112 approved in B.C. communities this year

The Trail Memorial Centre Arena roof replacement project is expected to start in April with an estimated completion date of August. Guy Bertrand photo

Roof repairs to the Trail Memorial Centre can go-ahead this year after the project was approved for a $1.16 million federal grant.

Trail council listed the job as a priority for a few years, but was unsuccessful in pursuing various funding streams. The project is mentioned in the 2018 capital plan, but described as entirely contingent upon grant dollars – so Friday’s announcement was good news that was a long time coming.

“The Trail Memorial Centre Arena is a vital facility for Trail,” Deputy Mayor Lisa Pasin said in a news release.

“There is a tremendous amount of energy, enthusiasm and community pride associated with the facility and the services offered directly through this historical building. Whether it’s minor hockey, Junior A hockey, or a major event, the arena is a community hub for our city.

“This federal funding will ensure our facility continues as an economically viable civic structure while maintaining its longevity.”

The grant will cover the full estimated cost of the project, which includes a full replacement of the arena’s 40,170-square-foot roof system, the installation of a low emissivity ceiling and new halide lights, asbestos removal in the current roof glue and cement board, project management, federal project signage, and a 15 per cent project contingency.

Work is expected to start in April and wind up later this summer.

Trail is one of many Kootenay communities included in the federal government’s release of $193 million in gas tax dollars for fixes and improvements to infrastructure within British Columbia.

The funding will cover a wide range of capital and capacity-building projects such as upgrades to drinking- and waste-water facilities; recreational, sport and cultural infrastructure; local roads and bridges; solid waste management; community energy systems; and disaster mitigation measures.

Locally, the City of Nelson tops the list with $6 million to develop a water master plan and supplementary sources. Through the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Creston was approved $3.1 million for community park upgrades and the Town of Creston $2.8 million for upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. Smaller but significant jobs include $1.78 million for infrastructure renewal in Greenwood and $910,000 to Kaslo for first stage expansion to its sewer system. The Village of New Denver now has $500,000 to improve Denver Siding water and the City of Grand Forks, $226,000 to invest in floodplain risk management.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) will receive $190,000 for improvements to the Saddle Lake Dam in rural Grand Forks and $27,000 toward a water management plan.

“This project will allow the RDKB to plan for the likely ownership and operation of more water utilities in the coming years,” the regional district stated in a Friday press release.”Smaller water suppliers in the region often need local government support to secure grants, meet regulatory requirements and maintain or replace aging infrastructure.”

The RDKB currently owns and operates four water utilities and provides support to the operation of the Warfield Water Treatment Plant.

“Four more water systems are now being assessed to determine if it is feasible for the RDKB to acquire them,” explained. “The strategy will be completed by the end of 2018.”

On a significantly smaller scale, are Rossland and Fruitvale. The Alpine City was granted $80,900 for a renewal project at the Rossland Public Library. The village received almost $72,000 for an “Inflow and Infiltration Reduction Program,” which refers to removing groundwater and stormwater from sewer lines for better efficiency.

Each year, the Government of Canada provides over $278 million in funding for local government infrastructure across British Columbia through the Federal Gas Tax Fund. The Union of BC Municipalities administers the Federal Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

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