The City of Trail is applying for a grant under the Strategic Priorities Fund to build a second access road to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. Cost estimates for a secondary road near $3.5 million. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Trail pursues funding for secondary road to KBRH

Trail has committed to building a secondary road to KBRH, presently estimated to near $3.5 million.

The City of Trail is consigned to build a secondary road to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH), presently estimated to near $3.5 million.

The new road with sidewalk, lighting and additional parking spaces was part of the deal to get wheels in motion on the hospital’s $40 million renovation plan for the emergency department, pharmacy and ambulatory care wing.

Trail council convened a special meeting on Wednesday to decide if city staff should pursue money through a program called the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund – the vote also would show if the group as a whole, is on board with the multi-million project.

They are, because council agreed unanimously to submit the application.

“The road is part of the municipal infrastructure and the City of Trail is committed to fund this directly,” confirmed Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff, noting the current cost estimate is $3.327 million.

“Recognizing the regional benefit, the city would ideally like to secure funding from other local governments who will benefit,” he said.

“But understands that each area has their own priorities and would need to rationalize any contribution in terms of the perceived benefits and available funding.”

The Strategic Priorities Fund is an application based program available to local governments and other recipients outside of the Greater Vancouver Regional District to support infrastructure and capacity building projects that are either large in scale, regional in impact or innovative, and align with the program objectives of productivity and economic growth, a clean environment and strong cities and communities.

The program provides up to 100 per cent funding for eligible capital and capacity building projects to a maximum contribution of $6 million per project. Project applications over $6 million remain eligible provided that additional costs are confirmed through other funding sources.

“The grant opportunity provides a viable funding source and with the recent funding announced for KBRH it is well timed and ideally both the hospital sustainability project and road can proceed in parallel,” Perehudoff added.

“The city is also applying for the Trail Memorial Centre roof replacement as its second project. This project is valued in excess of $1 million and is becoming more urgent in terms of protecting this critical community asset.”

In May 2014, Canada, the province and the UBCM (Union of B.C. Municipalities) signed a renewed Gas Tax Agreement (GTA) which provides a 10-year commitment of federal funding for investments in Local Government infrastructure and capacity building projects in British Columbia.

One of the key funding programs established through the GTA is the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF).

The SPF is an application-based funding program, which pools approximately $28 million of the $253 million annual federal Gas Tax Fund for strategic investments that are considered larger in scale, regional in impact, or innovative.

The SPF replaced the General Strategic Priorities Fund and Innovations Fund programs from the First Gas Tax Agreement and is available for Local Governments outside of the Greater Vancouver region.

The city previously applied for federal dollars through the New Building Canada Fund for help building a secondary hospital road.

That pursuit hit a road block when a 2015 study revealed the current road missed the mark in terms of traffic volume – under initial guidelines of the New Building program, the road must have at least 3,000 traffic movements per day.

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