After a very long evaluation process, which included some technical difficulties, the Town of Golden has been informed that it was unsuccessful in obtaining two infrastructure grants to make improvements to the downtown core.
“We waited a long time to for our applications, only to hear that they never got them,” said Jon Wilsgard, chief administrative officer for the Town of Golden.
A software glitch on the end of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (the organization that handled the adjudication process for the federal Strategic Priorities Fund), resulted in Golden’s applications not being received.
A frustrating turn of events to say the least, considering the municipality was hoping to be successful in obtaining two grants that would cover 100 per cent of the dyke upgrade project, and a street project covering the square block around Ford and the new brewery. The total would have been more than $7 million for the Town.
After UBCM became aware of the problem, they accepted the applications and put them through the same judgement process as the rest of the 224 applications they had received from municipalities around British Columbia. And to Golden’s surprise, their two didn’t make the cut.
“They didn’t make the grade,” said Wilsgard.
“Projects needed an evaluation of 62/100 to be successful, and our two came in at 55 and 58…Understandably we were quite upset.”
The Strategic Priorities Fund, which is funded through the national gas tax, was touted as a “core infrastructure” fund. Wilsgard was very disappointed to see that park projects, and other non-essential applications were chosen over Golden’s necessary dyke upgrades, and street projects that would replace aging water and sewer lines as well.
“We’re not happy with it in principle,” he said.
“But, only 66 out of the 224 applications were accepted, so we’re not alone here. There’s a lot of unhappy municipalities right now.”
Golden’s two projects are still a high priority for the municipality, which is now looking at other ways of completing them. Other grant cycles will be coming up, possibly as early as the fall. However these grants may not be 100 per cent covered, and Golden may have to come up with a third for each project.
“These are still our two top priorities, and we’ve learned from this granting cycle,” said Wilsgard. “We relied too heavily on the data, and perhaps didn’t tell the story well enough. Next time we’ll have to sell it better.”