Golden may be hitting the granting jackpot if two applications are successful for a very rare 100 per cent coverage on infrastructure projects.
At the regular council meeting on Jan. 14, council unanimously voted to move forward with two applications to the Federal Gas Tax Fund Strategic Priorities Fund, with little discussion.
In almost every other granting opportunity available to municipalities, not all of the funds are offered. The standard formula is usually two thirds of the given project will be covered through a grant, and the final third would be covered by the municipality. A 100 per cent grant is exceptionally rare.
“Years ago when the Gas Tax (the tax paid at the pump across the country) first emerged, it had a very limited repertoire of what it could be applied for. It was anything to do with transportation because it’s a gas tax. But now, it has opened up and it can be applied through a pallet of different options,” said Chief Administrative Officer Jon Wilsgard.
In the past most applications for these funds had to be transportation related, but this cycle has opened it up to other areas including disaster mitigation and tourism infrastructure – key areas for Golden.
The first application, with a value of $2.7 million, will focus on four roads in Golden’s downtown. There will be road structure and utility upgrades on 9th Avenue North, 8th Avenue North, and 6th Street North.
“This comes from our asset renewal plan that we’ve developed and taken to council in the past,” said Manager of Operations Chris Cochran. The municipality has a 10-year asset renewal plan for infrastructure, and upgrades to these streets were at the top of the list.
The second application, which falls under Disaster Mitigation and Tourism Infrastructure projects, will be a $4.9 million undertaking that will tackle the Town’s dykes.
“We’ve decided to return to an old priority of council, and obviously there’s a community safety issue here,” said Wilsgard.
There are three main components to this project including 330 lineal metres of dyke improvement and community enhancement adjacent to the north bank, referred to as the Bridge to Bridge project, 1.1km of dyke raising from the canyon to the confluence on both sides of the river, and vegetation management for 5.2km of assessed dyke.
“We saw an opportunity here that may never come about again,” said Wilsgard.
The first component of this application was proposed before, but didn’t move ahead after a referendum decided not to borrow funds for it.
If this application is successful, the municipality can complete the $4.9 million project at no cost to the local tax payer.
The two applications are due on April 15, after which the Union of British Columbia Municipalities will begin the approval process. There’s no indication when applications will be approved, but if Golden is successful they will start moving forward with the projects.
“Between these two applications, we’re going to change the entire face and character of the downtown,” said Wilsgard.
“If the stars align and they’re both approved, it will be huge,” said Cochran.