THUNDER BAY – The city will be looking for federal infrastructure money for four projects.
Council on Monday voted to submit a prioritized list of asks to Ottawa to request funding under the Canada 150 program, which FedNor has set aside $5.2 million for northern Ontario from the $200 million national total.
The fund is eligible for facilities open to public use that will provide a long-term benefit to communities and leave a legacy of Canada’s 150th anniversary. The program will contribute 50 per cent of the costs up to $500,000.
Though four projects are being submitted, city manager Tim Commisso cautioned council to not expect them all to get the green light.
“I don’t see any circumstance, personally, where Thunder Bay would get 40 per cent of the entire Northern Ontario allocation,” he said.
“We believe there’s a good chance we’ll get one.”
The top priority on the list is the Centennial Botanical Conservatory, which would come in with an estimated cost of as much as $2.7 million. If approved, the federal funding could leave the city on the hook for as much as $2 million.
A report to council outlines that the display area has had structural problems with glass panels falling that prompted a year-long closure of the facility in 2012. There have also been collapsed sub-drains.
It would also increase the size of the area which would increase accessibility and allow for more private events such as weddings and receptions, as well as provide educational programming opportunities.
The other three projects – a permanent Marina Park bandshell, International Friendship Gardens upgrades and Centennial Park improvements, all have an estimated cost of $1 million which would result in equal federal and municipal funding.
Municipal funding could potentially come from the Renew Thunder Bay reserve fund, other reserve funds, pre-commitment from the 2016 budget or reallocation from the 2015 capital budget.