Town of Peace River frustrated over failed grant applications

Peace River Town Council is expressing frustration over being shut out on four grant applications.

The town learned at its last council meeting that all grant requests made to the province through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

The town passed a motion to explain to Peace River MLA, Dan Williams, and the appropriate federal government departments the need for funding for various projects.

The ICIP is a grant where dollars flow to the province from Ottawa, and are then distributed by the provincial government.

Two of the five requests had to be withdrawn because only projects that have not started construction quality.

The Baytex Energy Centre was one project where a grant application was submitted, but withdrawn, as was a grant for the demolition and repair of Reservoir 365 because the town felt that task could not be put off any longer.

The three grants denied were: The Shaftesbury Pathway upgrade, the Athabasca Hall renovation, and a project to increase water capacity supply.

The letters from Infrastructure Deputy Minister, Shannon Flint, stated that there were over 700 expressions of interest received from all over the province, and that the program was “significantly over-subscribed.”

The Trending 55 Newsroom asked council what happens next, and Councillor Colin Needham says the town needs help to work on some of these key infrastructure projects.

“We have capital projects that way exceed our budget and we won’t undertake those projects unless we have funding,” says Needham.

“We either get the funds through tax increases through: tax increase, debentures, or grants.”

Needham also expressed frustration over being shut out on this round of grant applications.

“It is terribly frustrating,” explained Needham. “Elected officials show up for grand openings and cutting of ribbons but they are not there to help us get the money so it is a little frustrating.”

The rejection letters to council also pointed out that there will be a new application period this spring, and Needham says the town will try again.

“I think what we will do is just keep at it,” mentions Needham. “The recreation centre is done but there are other projects that are on the list and we will do the best we can.”

– Kenny Trenton, Trenton 55 Newsroom