After its recent successes in obtaining grant funding, the District of Lillooet has set its sights on funding to upgrade the REC Centre.
At a July 31 special meeting, council voted to apply to Western Economic Diversification Canada for money for facility repairs and enhancements. The total project cost is estimated at $104,000, with Western Economic Diversification providing 50 per cent of that amount. The District’s 50 per cent share would come from existing Department of Recreation reserves, surpluses and the current budget. The District contributes $20,000 per year to its Recreation reserve fund.
Director of Recreation Wayne Robinson recommended several projects for the grant application, including:
- an LED electronic sign to replace the existing board along the Main Street pool wall, at an estimated cost of $34,745.76
- purchasing and install a scrubber on the bio-mass exhaust stack to ensure the District meets its obligations within its allowable discharge permit ($24,474.24)
- replacing the two derelict sets of exterior doors in the pool building with new doors to minimize heat loss and mitigate safety concerns re: doors being frozen shut in winter weather ($10,931)
- removing derelict solar panels and shingles from the pool roof and replacing them with new shingles ($16,848)
- crack repair and painting of the pool basin to reduce existing water loss and make the pool safer. ($16,602.88)
Councillor Kevin Anderson asked why a scrubber is necessary for the bio-mass project and why that equipment wasn’t covered in the initial purchase agreement.
“That seemed to me to be part of the overall green component, to have a scrubber in there,” Anderson commented.
Robinson replied that, as far as he knows, a scrubber was never supposed to be installed on the bio-mass stack.
“The belief of all parties was that we would fall under the proper permitted level each time we did a stack test. What we’re finding is that we’re not,” Robinson explained. “I know I told you previously that I was 99 per cent sure we would pass the next stack test because we changed pellet fuel, but we did not. And I’m looking for reasons as to why.”
He said adding a scrubber to the stack would ensure the District meets its environmental objectives “every time.” Robinson described the application for the scrubber as a “contingency” and said if the stack passes its next test, the scrubber could be removed from the grant application.
Although he voted in favour of the application, Anderson expressed concern about the last-minute nature of the application and about other short-notice grant applications presented to council just prior to application deadlines.
“We set our budget and then, throughout the year, it’s like every meeting, we get a grant application and request for assistance,” said Anderson. “And it’s ongoing. How do we allow for that in the budgeting process and how do we get clarity so that going into the next budget, we know where we stand with the different portfolios?”
CAO Grant Loyer responded that this round of Western Economic Diversification funding was only recently announced.
“How do we plan for these things? Well, I suppose that’s why we establish reserve funds,” said Loyer. “To have those funds there to deal with contingencies that we haven’t foreseen such as this, or when something breaks at the REC Centre that we would have to fix.”
Loyer said he believes the District is “quite prudent in how we budget.”