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Local rec projects seek provincial funding

The highway bridge at Christina Lake has pedestrian access, but regional director Grace McGregor says they want something safer; Photo, Erin Perkins
Some exciting new recreational improvements may be coming to the Boundary in 2012.
 
The Regional District Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and the City of Grand Forks have applied for funding through a newly launched provincial Community Recreation Program.
 
The $30 million provincial program launched in September 2011 and aims to help communities meet their recreational infrastructural needs by investing in local government capital projects to promote active living.
 
Several projects have come forward from this region including a pedestrian bridge in Christina Lake across Christina Creek, an upgrade to Dick Bartlett Park and paved trail upgrades to the Trans Canada Trail between Grand Forks and Christina Lake.
 
The grant applications had a tight deadline from the time it was announced in September to a final proposal deadline of Dec. 28, 2011. The projects put forth by this region were "shelf ready projects all ready to go" including preliminary engineering quotes and community funding in place, said John Mackey, director of recreational facilities for Grand Forks and District Recreation.
 
The grants are for 80 per cent project funding up to $400,000 with the rest of the funds expected to come from the community who applied for the project. The Community Recreation Program allowed for one proposal per municipality and three per regional district. The RDKB has also filed a proposal for cross country ski trails in Beaver Valley.
 
Christina Lake looking for pedestrian bridge
 
The Christina Lake project proposal is for a covered 70 meter clear span pedestrian bridge over Christina Creek along Highway 3.
 
"The Highway 3 bridge (over Christina Creek) is not really safe for pedestrians," said Grace McGregor, RDKB Director Area C. "We get over 6,000 visitors in the summer and we like to encourage walking ... Walking on the sidewalk that is already part of the bridge is not a very pleasant experience."
 
The project has been in the works for years, she said. It would be too much to redo the entire bridge, so building a pedestrian-only bridge was a more feasible option. The proposal they've put forward will cost about $460,000.
 
In the proposal, the RDKB has asked for 80 per cent of that cost to be covered by the grant with the remaining 20 per cent -- about $92,000 -- being paid for by the annual gas tax and some from the existing budget and a regional park fund.
 
Grand Forks upgrade would include green gym, water park
 
The City of Grand Forks has applied for funding to upgrade the Dick Bartlett Park.
 
The $500,000 upgrade would include a green gym, water park, completion of the walking and biking path. The green park, according to a report from Wayne Kopan, manager of environmental and building construction services for the city, would "enable residents of all ages to participate in outdoor fitness activities that would target cardio vascular and strength training workouts on outdoor fitness equipment." This part of the project would cost about $45,000.
 
The spray and splash water park will cost an estimated $245,000 and would be located directly south of the aquatic centre in Grand Forks.
 
The final part of the project is a walking track loop along the streets adjacent to the park with 1,050 meters of two meters wide paved shoulder at an estimated cost of $236,000. The pathway is included in the Sustainable Community Plan approved last fall by council.
 
"I think it is an excellent proposal and would be a real benefit to the new seniors’ development but it will also be attractive for families and children," said Brian Taylor, Grand Forks’ mayor.
 
The resolution to proceed with the application was passed at a regular council meeting on Dec. 19. If approved, the City would have to contribute about $100,000, much of which can come from reserves like the Slag Fund Revenue Reserve Fund.
 
More pavement for Trans Canada Trail
 
The third project proposal comes from the Grand Forks Community Trail Society (GFCTS) who want to pave the Trans Canada Trail between Grand Forks and Highway 395 in Christina Lake.
 
The 17 kilometre trail would include one km within Grand Forks, nine kilometres in Area D and seven kilometres in Area C.
 
After paving the Grand Forks trails in 2009 and 2010 the society was "amazed at the increase in use. I'd say it went up ten fold," said GFCTS director Chris Moslin.
 
"If we paved the trail from Grand Forks to Christina Lake it would become an amenity for young families and seniors," he said.
 
The proposal includes paving, new gates and barriers to reduce the issues around motorized vehicle use. The money would also be used to improve signage and parking areas.
 
The entire project is estimated to cost $1 million, so this grant is just one of many the society will be applying for. They've applied for $400,000 from the Community Recreation Program.
 
Moslin said it would be a one- or two-year project with stages of completion.
 
While no one is certain when they'll find out if any of the proposals will be accepted, Mackey is hopeful to hear by early spring so the projects can be started. 
 
For more information about the province's Community Recreation Program visit their website,