A Banner Year for Grant Funding

June 22, 2021
Council Column

This has been a banner year for grant funding for the City; enabling us to build new amenities in support of our economic transition strategy, address social needs in the community, and underwrite major capital projects that would otherwise have required significant increases in property taxes.

Grant funding has become a major contributor to the City’s budget since Council made the deliberate decision in 2014 to develop the necessary strategies and “shovel-ready” project plans to improve our success in obtaining this type of incremental funding. It takes a lot of pre-planning, budgeting, and networking to be consistently successful at obtaining these grants, and, most importantly, a proven track record of delivering quality projects that meet the expectations of the granting government or agency.

Over the past few years, Quesnel has developed a reputation for quality in both our grant applications and our implementation of the projects we receive funding for. As a result, last year we celebrated receiving $6.1 million in grants from federal and provincial programs and from Northern Development Trust.

This year we are already approaching $15 million in grant funding!

The bulk of the grants are for projects that will advance our economic transition strategy,
continuing to enable us to make Quesnel a vibrant and interesting place for visitors, residents, and investors. However, the lion’s share of the grant money we’ve secured so far this year will go to projects that address major infrastructure needs which would otherwise have to be paid for by local property

The most recent of these grant announcements was last week’s great news that Quesnel was one of ten communities in BC to receive federal and provincial funding to renovate our #1 Firehall. The $2.5 million Quesnel received was the largest allocation to a community from this innovative $8.8 million funding stream.

This grant will enable us to bring our downtown firehall up to current building and accessibility codes and standards. The renovation project we can now undertake will include providing a change room for female firefighters and increasing the size of apparatus bays. Overall the project will result in increased public safety, decreased occupational hazards for our staff and volunteer firefighters, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Of critical importance to our ratepayers, this grant will also increase the lifespan of the current building by 15 to 20 years; enabling us to avoid going to referendum, potentially in 2022, to replace the facility at a projected cost of $7 - 10 million.

The other major infrastructure grant we received this year was $7.2 million for the complete repaving of the airport.  Again, this will directly benefit all ratepayers, including those in the Cariboo Regional District, who subsidize the operations of this critically important transportation facility, as a completely repaved airport will improve operational efficiency and enable us to continue to advance our business development strategy for this important community asset.

In the social domain, the major grant we’ve received so far this year will enable us to build a new childcare facility in West Quesnel. This $1.3 million provincial grant will create 34 much needed new childcare spaces.

Quality childcare is, of course, a major economic development initiative as well as a social imperative in all communities, and we’re grateful for the support from the province to add more spaces in our community in partnership with the Quesnel and District Daycare Society who will operate the new facility.

Council will continue to “chase” grants as a way to stretch your tax dollars and continue to make the strategic investments we need to make in our community. 

Mayor Bob Simpson

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