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Columbia-Shuswap fire training/operations centre a possibility for $3.8M grant

Regional district considering options for one-time funding
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has yet to determine how it will use a $3.8 million Growing Communities Fund grant. (File photo)

By Barb Brouwer

Special to the Observer

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s share of a provincial grant is $3.8 million.

Announced on Feb. 10, the Growing Communities Fund provides a one-time total of $1 billion in grants to all 188 B.C. municipalities and regional districts.

Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs noted the grants are intended to support projects that each community needs the most, like new affordable housing and child care facilities, road improvements or recreation centres.

In the memo that was presented to directors at the April 20 board meeting, Jodi Pierce, the regional district’s manager of financial services and deputy manager human resources, listed several items that fit within the fund’s guidelines of one-off costs required to build infrastructure and amenities.

Among the list of items is a new dedicated fire training/emergency operations centre including replacement of two old portables with a new permanent structure that will house the classroom area for training as well as a permanent facility for emergency activations; composting infrastructure in Golden (could be to support transfer to the Revelstoke facility or a new facility in Golden) and an elevator at the Golden Curling Rink.

Several other possible projects were included in the information-only memo, with discussion being deferred until the May board meeting.

Grants have been distributed to municipalities and regional districts using a funding formula that reflects population size and growth. The Town of Golden will receive $2.16 million, Salmon Arm $6.089 million, Sicamous $1.7 million and Chase $1.54 million.

“At present, the money is in the bank and currently, we do not have specific plans for the money,” said Golden Mayor Ron Oszust, noting it will be one of many discussions Golden Council will have during its strategic planning session in October. “There are some limitations and requirements around the utilization of the money, but this is an amazing opportunity and I know that council will ensure that it is used in the best possible way for the future of our community.”

All local governments are required to report on the use of funds in their annual audited financial statements.

Read more: Salmon Arm to receive $6 million from B.C. Growing Communities Fund

Read more: Sicamous, Chase, CSRD to benefit from $1 billion provincial grant fund
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