Parksville council defers discussion on $5 million green infrastructure grant

Sections of the Parksville Community Park were closed due to flooding in early January 2022. || File photo
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City council deferred discussion on a grant that would allow the city to complete its 20-year Parksville Community Park stormwater management master plan in five years, but would still leave the city on the hook for about $1.9 million of the cost.

The master plan includes objectives such as mitigating flood risk during extreme rainfall and coastal inundation events. 

If approved for the Green Infrastructure – Environmental Quality sub stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program grant, $5,269,574 of the master plan’s estimated $7,186,110 worth of work would be funded. 

Several council members expressed concern about shortening the timeframe from 20 years to five, especially considering the city’s $1.9 million obligation.

“Taking a 20-year and condensing it into a five-year plan is making us a little nervous, I can feel the temperature right now and maybe for good reason. Does this grant opportunity actually suggest that is has to be done in five years?” said Coun. Doug O’Brien.

If the city receives the grant, it will need to complete the work within the five year timeframe, according to Shawn Boven, director of engineering and technology systems. The city would pay $383,307 per year towards the project, according to Boven’s report.

Coun. Al Greir said he was concerned the city’s contribution would mean increased taxes.

“This seems like a big obligation for us over five years, almost two millions dollars,” he said. “It’s just added money. I mean we’re looking at a swimming pool which is going to be $50 or 60 million. We just can’t continue to spend these huge amounts of money.”

If the city is not approved for the grant, city staff would incrementally follow the stormwater management master plan over the 20-year period, unless another grant opportunity became available, Boven said.

Council voted to defer the discussion until staff can bring more information.

The deadline to apply for the grant is 4 p.m on Jan. 26. The Parksville Community Park Stormwater Management Master Plan was completed in June 2021 and approved by council during its Dec. 6, 2021 regular meeting.

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