Elida Peers

Infusion of funding for local projects

Federal government comes through with funds from Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

On Wednesday, Aug 28, the Government of Canada announced spending specific to Sooke, which will benefit infrastructure projects at Camp Barnard, the Sooke Region Historical Society (our museum), and the Charters River Salmon Interpretive Centre. In total, $80,100 are being invested in the community of Sooke. The funds come from the federal government’s Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF).

Youth attending Camp Barnard as a part of the cross country running group listened on the edge of their seats as the Honourable John Duncan — Minister of State, Chief Government Whip, and Conservative MP for Vancouver Island North — made the announcement at the camp. Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, was unable to attend.

In his speech about the funds given to local programs, Duncan said “These [programs] are very much a foundation for our communities, bringing families, visitors and residents together, will enhance the qualify of life in our communities, and to generate economic activities and jobs.”

Program organizers took the opportunity to express their gratitude and announce how their individual programs were going to use the funds.

Camp Barnard received $23,250. The funding model for Camp Barnard is pretty straightforward according to Gary Hendren, the spokesperson for Camp Barnard. The user pays a fee, and the camp makes up the difference with money raised through local fundraising events.

“One of the problems that we do run into using that model is major infrastructure replacement,” said Hendren. The upcoming 2015 Scout’s Jamboree, where the organizers at Camp Barnard are expecting about 3,000 attendees, heightened awareness of needed infrastructure upgrades. The funds they received will go towards replacing a “piece of pipe (that) was put in on a temporary basis in 1987,” said Hendren. Currently, that pipe “leaks like a sieve.”

The Sooke Region Historical Society received $27,500. Lee Boyko, the executive director at the Sooke Region Museum said the funds would be put towards roof upgrades, the installation of LED lights — making the museum more energy efficient — and space upgrades, allowing for larger groups to come through the information centre and museum. This funding will allow the museum to “prosper, develop and grow” summed up Boyko.

The Charters River Salmon Interpretive centre received $29,350. Speaking on behalf of the Charters River Salmon Interpretive centre, Elida Peers said “We are a struggling group of volunteers dedicated to both enhancement of salmon habitat and to education in promoting understanding in the needs of our West Coast salmon population for future sustainability.” To further their mandate, the centre will use  their funds to install skylights, create viewing areas and seating, provide protective viewing coverings and install window blinds. Septic upgrades and hookup are also planned. These improvements will assist in their plan to  accommodate an on-site caretaker.