On April 11, 2022, Joyce Murray, Canada‘s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, on behalf of Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and Nathan Cullen, British Columbia‘s Minister of Municipal Affairs, announced more than $110.3 million in joint federal-provincial funding to help revitalize communities while making them more resilient.
“Accessible spaces that enable community members to gather, learn and express their creativity help reduce social isolation and promote inclusivity. Our government is happy that British Columbia is partnering with us to invest in social and green infrastructure projects that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of British Columbians,” said Murray.
This integration of those two formerly-siloed agendas is now a major trend. Investments in renovating local infrastructure help build inclusive, resilient, revitalized communities. They create good jobs and business opportunities, address some of the gaps highlighted by the pandemic, and support local climate-related initiatives.
The funding will go to 57 community, recreation, and green infrastructure projects across the province of British Columbia.
Among communities benefitting from the investments announced, the City of Richmond will see the former Minoru Place Activity Centre repurposed and renovated into an inclusive community arts facility.
“Richmond has a proud and vibrant arts community. This grant from the Canada Infrastructure Program helps the City to continue to build capacity and create a lasting legacy. When complete, the Richmond Cultural Centre Annex will house more than 16,000 square feet of purpose-built shared arts program space to serve community needs and accommodate community arts groups,” stated Malcolm Brodie, Mayor of Richmond.
The new facility will increase arts programming for residents of all ages with the construction of two dance studios, a pottery studio, a media arts studio, and multipurpose program rooms.
“By investing in accessible community infrastructure, we’re ensuring British Columbians in every corner of the province benefit from vibrant, well-connected communities. Projects like the Minoru Place Arts Centre in Richmond and District of Kent Aquatic Centre will improve people’s health and well-being through improved access to culture and recreation, helping us build even stronger communities,” explained Cullen.
Funding will also support 13 Indigenous-led projects in British Columbia.
Notably, the Doig River First Nations will construct a new cultural education building to accommodate in-person and virtual learning. The First Nations of the McLeod Lake Indian Band will build a community centre featuring a lobby with cultural displays, a gym, fitness room, multi-purpose rooms, and outdoor gathering spaces.
Other communities in the province will benefit from new or upgraded community halls, arts centers, arenas, pools, play structures, parks, community gardens, as well as improved water treatment systems. A few projects will also construct or enhance active transportation options, including the pedestrian and cycling overpass that will connect the Galloping Goose regional trail to the Island Highway in Colwood.
The Government of Canada is investing more than $56.8 million in these 57 projects through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure, Rural and Northern Infrastructure, and Green Infrastructure streams of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of British Columbia is contributing $53.4 million, and contributions from project recipients total $27.1 million.
Photo of Richmond courtesy of Visit Richmond.