By Valerie Rossi
An avenue in Fruitvale that needs desperate attention will receive paving reconstruction and storm drainage work now that the village has secured a $400,000 grant from the province.
“I was ecstatic,” said Fruitvale Mayor Libby Nelson when she found out that the village was among the 47 communities to benefit from the Towns for Tomorrow grant, which goes toward projects that support the development or improvement of local infrastructure.
Up to 80 per cent of the Hillcrest Avenue project will be covered by the grant, with Fruitvale paying the remaining $140,000 under the Gas Tax Funding it receives annually under the community works program.
“We’ve applied for several Towns for Tomorrow grants and had been unsuccessful so you get to the point where you think that it’s never going to work but then Bingo!” said Nelson.
Fruitvale has an informal plan when it comes to roadwork but is in the midst of developing a formal approach.
The village created a drainage and road plan years ago that mapped out areas in need of improvement, which totaled about $14 million. It has pecked away at various upgrades over the years but the hefty bill has been a tough one to tackle.
“(Hillcrest) is one of our main feeder roads, really, so it is important that it’s kept up,” said Nelson.
“It has drainage issues and if you drive up it you can see that it’s craved all over. It does not have the big pot holes that we have around various spots in the village this year, particularly, so some people think that it’s not in such bad shape but it’s ready to go at any time.”
With this final round of grants, the Towns for Tomorrow program has funded about 200 infrastructure projects within B.C. communities. Eligible projects include those related to water quality, wastewater, environmental energy improvements, local roads, recreation, culture, tourism, public transit, protective and emergency services infrastructure and community development.
The province is helping small, rural communities address infrastructure priorities with an investment of $17.2 million through this program.