Infrastructure projects are tops on the District of Houston’s work plan this year thanks to an increase in grants and contributions from outside sources.
In total, grants and contributions based on the district’s work plan for 2019 amount to just over $8.39 million, approximately $6.3 million more than in 2018.
Council May 2 gave its approval to this year’s works plan as part of its 2019 budget document which was also approved the same night.
While some elements of what council wishes done this year are still conditional and await anticipated acceptance of grant applications, some projects already have the necessary financial support.
“Projects funded via property taxation, surplus, and reserves can be expected to go ahead,” noted District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck, adding that projects to be financed by federal gas tax grants, for example, require confirmation from the agencies which are to provide the money.
One of those secured sources is $4.486 million from the provincial government’s Northern Capital and Planning Grant Program announced earlier this year.
Council is taking $1.690 million of that amount this year, reserving the rest for projects in succeeding years.
Of that amount to be spent this year, $800,000 is to support detailed engineering work this year on the District’s the multi-year downtown revitalization project.
An additional $500,000 is to be spent on capital road projects and $200,000 to bring the District’s playground equipment in various parks up to current safety standards.
A further $25,000 is to be devoted to the planned Bymac Park project and $15,000 for planning associated with an anticipated project to mitigate flooding potential along Silverthorne Creek.
Rounding off the amount to be spent from the Northern Capital grant allocation this year is $150,000 to complete the financing for the arena ammonia refrigeration replacement project.
Contributing to the grant totals this year is $250,000 from the Northern Development Initiative Trust, money which is also being used to complete the financing for the ammonia replacement project.
One of the anticipated 2019 projects which is contingent upon receiving a grant is work along 1km from Buck Creek to the Morice River for clearing and brushing to reduce fire risk.
That’s pegged at $1 million and an application has been made to the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. for the entire amount.
The District is also receiving approximately $375,000 from federal gas tax revenues with half being regarded as a one-time bonus. This money is being spent on a variety of projects.
Also on the grants list this year is money from BC Hydro for another major project involving placing overhead lines underground along Hwy16.
This is also a multi-year project based on the District’s five-year financial plan and will also feature a sidewalk and traffic lights in the years ahead.