West Merritt Active Transportation Path moves forward

·2 min read

At the last Council meeting, staff once again brought forward a grant application to Mayor and Council regarding funding for the West Merritt Active Transportation Path.

On Sept. 29, 2020, council directed staff to submit a grant application for the path through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Community, Culture and Recreation stream.

However, under that grant, the City would be required to pay more than $600,000 as they would be responsible for 26.67% of the total project costs.

Since that time, a new funding stream has been created through the ICIP, for COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure (CVRIS). The difference is that this stream offers 100% funding for a number of projects, including Active Transportation.

City CAO Sean Smith made a presentation to council suggesting that they also submit an application under this new stream for the West Merritt Active Transportation Path, although originally they had hoped to use it to assist in some of the City’s water woes.

“We were hoping to have a Kengard well application actually for this, under the Disaster Mitigation component,” explained Smith.

“It became evident that that wasn’t going to be successful and so we have pivoted.”

However, at the Jan. 12 council meeting, council directed staff to apply for $80,496 in funding to repair the KVR Pedestrian Bridge through the CVRIS – Adaption, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation Program. As that funding also falls under this new stream, the City would not receive funding for both.

Smith said that when it comes down to it, it is a “double dip”.

“We don’t know which one we would get in under, we hope we would get in under one or the other and if we get one, we hope it’s this one, because it’s 100% covered vs. the $600,000 some odd dollars that the city would be required to cover if we get in under the other stream.”

The City of Kelowna recently did the same thing, submitting an application for their own Active Transportation paths under this stream hoping for 100% funding as opposed to 75% coverage.

Smith did explain that while the City would have to cover the cost of the KVR Pedestrian Bridge out of pocket should they receive the funding for the West Merritt Active Transportation Path, the overall savings would still be more than $520,000.

There was no debate on the topic by Mayor and Council, and the motion to direct staff to submit the application for grant funding was carried unanimously.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald