Funding announcements from the Gas Tax General Strategic Priorities Fund are flowing into communities this week — but not into Kimberley.
The City of Kimberley’s application for funding to assist with the $4.25 million Mark Creek flume rehabilitation project has been rejected.
A brief letter to the City from the Chair of the fund’s management committee, Gary MacIsaac, offered no explanation as to why the City’s application was turned down, other than there were far more applications than available funds.
What went wrong is something Mayor Ron McRae would like to know.
“We were not successful with the gas tax application,” McRae said at City Council on Tuesday evening. “A couple of grants have been announced in the Elk Valley. We have to go back and find out where this thing went sideways.”
McRae said the City would ask for a full recounting of why the flume project application was not successful.
“We need to know why,” he said.
Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald is not shy about offering his theory on the recent funding announcements. He says there have been few, if any, announcements of any significance in this riding.
“Right now you have Liberal MLAs trying to save their seats,” he said. “The flume should have been funded. There’s $26 million for advertising yet no money to support an infrastructure project like the flume.
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“There’s $11 million for a Bollywood awards show — a show they made up — right before the election.
“The priorities of this government are really odd and desperate. The fiscal situation in this province is serious and money has to be invested wisely in good projects.”
This particular gas tax application was what McRae called ‘the big one’ — the one the City had been counting on for two thirds of the funding for the project.
A referendum on the project funding did allow for the possibility of the City having to go it alone.
However, McRae says the City does have to assess going forward.
“We are planning for the next phase, but given the recent announcement, we have to consider whether it should go on the back burner.”
Not getting this grant, while very disappointing, doesn’t say there won’t be other opportunities to apply for funding.
“You never know,” he said. “There is an election coming up. I remain optimistic we’ll find something.”