Golden is poised to start a few major projects, some that could change the face of the downtown, but for now it just has to wait.
The municipality applied for a few major grants in the spring, and decisions are finally expected to be released this fall, sometime after the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference next week.
“We’re really hoping we get some traction with those. They’re huge projects, and these grants cover 100 per cent,” said Jon Wilsgard, CAO for the Town of Golden.
Usually federal and provincial grants cover two thirds of a project, leaving the municipality to come up with the final third. However, if the town is successful in obtaining these grants (which come from federal Gas Tax dollars), then the river dyke upgrade project, and the downtown 9th Street project (which encompasses the square block surrounding the Ford dealership and the new brewery) will be completely paid for.
“All we can do is cross our fingers and wait,” said Wilsgard. “We’re calling this the year of anticipation.”
Should they be unsuccessful, the Town will start looking at other means for the high priority 9th Street project, and begin putting money into the reserve fund.
It may be the year of anticipation, but the municipality has also completed some exciting projects. The Highway Corridor landscaping project completed its first phase, as did the tourism kiosks you can see around town, both of which were funded by Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funds.
RMI has only renewed its contract for two years, instead of the usual five, causing some concern among the 14 RMI communities that some changes may be coming. They will all meet at the UBCM conference next week.
The money coming in for the next two years will go towards completing the Highway Corridor project, a new sign at the Highway 1/Highway 95 junction, banner and sign maintenance, as well as the grooming for the snowmobile trails, as it does every year.
“Basically we’re going to continue what we’ve already started,” said Wilsgard.
The Ministry of Transportation has also committed to finish what they started, and will be connecting the Highway 1 pathway to the sidewalks on the highway strip.
“We’re really excited that they’re going to be doing that,” added Wilsgard.
Connectivity for pedestrians has been identified as a priority, and this connection will complete a link from Upper Donald, to the highway strip, and into downtown.