The Municipality of North Grenville has submitted an application for an Investing in Canada Infrastructure grant to upgrade Riverside Park.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Mark Guy told council at the meeting on October 5 that the decision to focus on Riverside Park for the grant application is based on discussions that staff had previously with council, and public consultation through the parks and recreation 10-year master plan exercise. “[Residents] wanted to see more investment in Riverside Park,” he said.
The application includes significant additions and upgrades to Riverside Park, including upgrading or rebuilding the outdoor pool building, a dual splash pad/skating rink, pickleball courts, relocating baseball diamond one to create a special event area, asphalt basketball courts, finishing the multiuser pathway surrounding the park, upgrading parking and lighting, and improving the interior of Pte. Blake Williamson Memorial Hall. Mark said that although they don’t have the final estimates, the entire project will most likely fall in the ballpark of $5 million.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure program has two streams: A multipurpose stream for projects over $5 million, and a rehabilitation stream for projects under $5 million. “Depending on how class D estimates come in, we will decide on applying for one stream or the other,” Mark said at the council meeting.
In order to obtain the class D estimates, council has agreed to allocate $9650 from the recreation reserve to hire the services of consulting firm WSP. It was a consultant who now works at WSP that helped create the last plan for Riverside Park in 2013, and therefore it makes sense to hire them again to update the plan taking into consideration 2019 dollars.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure grant does not cover the entire cost of the project. Mark told council that the municipal portion is just under 27 per cent, with 33 per cent coming from the provincial government and the rest from the federal purse. Mark says that the grant has a 7-year lifespan, meaning that they will be able to spread the municipal portion over several years. “We can continue to contribute to recreation reserve over time and allocate some of those funds to Riverside Park if we are successful in getting the grant,” he said. “Some of it would probably be through taxation, and we would have to raise money as well through the seven years.”
Mayor Nancy Pickford thanked Mark for his work identifying and pursuing the grant opportunity for the municipality. She also outlined that even if they aren’t successful in the grant application, it will be good to have the updated costs for the development of Riverside Park in their back pockets. “Thank you Mr.Guy for seeing the opportunity and pursuing it with some vigour,” she said at the meeting. “While updated information is germane to this application, having the updated information about these park upgrades and additions is helpful to the municipality overall in terms of planning, should we go down the path with or without an external funder.”