NORTH HURON – An extension for the Downtown Mainstreet Revitalization Funds was granted by North Huron council at the Oct. 5 council meeting.
The deadline for completion of the projects approved for the funds was March 31, but through the reporting stage, it was found that several North Huron businesses had not been able to achieve this target.
Out of North Huron’s 11 projects, only two had met the March deadline.
After further review of the final reports submitted by several municipalities, it became evident to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) that there were many municipalities in the same situation as North Huron.
These municipalities were largely the ones that chose to allocate their funds through the Community Improvement Projects Stream. As a result, AMO approached the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) requesting an extension of the project deadline. OMAFRA granted AMO an extension until Oct. 31.
North Huron has since entered into a mutual funding extension agreement with this new deadline date. All Downtown Mainstreet Revitalization funded projects are required to be completed by this time.
North Huron staff reached out to each of the approved businesses to confirm whether they still planned to complete their project and whether they could finish it by the deadline.
Through this outreach, it was discovered that two approved businesses are no longer planning to complete their projects for varying reasons. These are Healthy Computers (grant of $290.52) and Workspace (grant of $1,580.30)
The total of $1,870.82 is required to be reallocated to a project that can be completed by the deadline.
One of the criteria under North Huron’s Community Improvement Plan is that the funds cannot be paid to any business for work that has already been completed before approval.
As a result, none of the Commercial Façade Grant projects under the Community Improvement Project Stream would be able to be reallocated the funds. Instead and because of the upcoming deadline, North Huron’s only option is to reallocate the funds to a Municipal Physical Infrastructure Stream project.
The Town Hall Front Counter Accessibility/COVID-19 Renovations meets the criteria of the Municipal Physical Infrastructure Stream. The funds will be reallocated to the Town Hall Front Counter Accessibility/COVID-19 Renovations project.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times