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Sooke and T’Sou’ke Nation receive financial boost for projects

Provincial, federal governments invest millions towards Greater Victoria infrastructure
Sooke just received more than $800,000 in funding towards building a multi-use sport box in Sunriver. Funding for 22 projects in Island communities was announced by ministers on Friday, July 3. (Contributed - District of Sooke)

If you grant it, infrastructure will come.

Sooke, the T’Sou-ke Nation, and Scouts Canada in Sooke all received a funding boost towards a few exciting projects. Funding for 22 projects in Island communities was announced by ministers on Friday, July 3. The projects include improvements to community centres, health centres, stormwater management, drinking water and wastewater facilities, cultural facilities and social support hubs.

The T’Sou-ke Nation received approximately $3.8 million towards a community complex and health centre, with about $1.3 million in applicant funds contributed.

Scouts Canada received about $420,000 towards installing a “pre-fabricated kitchen and dining facility” at Camp Barnard, with accessible washrooms and showers.

The federal government is contributing more than $33.2 million to projects on the Island, and the province is contributing over $8.7 million, according to Infrastructure Canada. Individual applicants are contributing more than $12.2 million to the projects. Eight of the projects are also in Indigenous communities, which will receive more than $23.2 million in federal and provincial funding.

Infrastructure Canada says the investment will support economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic as the projects get underway.

Sooke was granted $892,778 towards building an outdoor multi-use sports sport box in Sunriver. The project was initially put forward in 2011, said Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, but funding was unsuccessful and the plans remained dormant until it was rejuvenated in 2018.

The sports box is intended to provide an arena-type space to accommodate games including floor hockey, lacrosse, and other recreational sports. Tait said the project is now “shovel ready,” but an official date for construction has not been set yet.

“The design and the likes have been done for years, the area is already zoned … it’s just time to start the process,” said Tait. “Now that we have the money, we can go for it.”

The District has been working with SEAPARC for the project, and Al Beddows, chairman of the SEAPARC commission, said the new facility will bring more options for Sooke’s residents in terms of recreation.

“This project is something that the community has been crying for a while,” said Beddows. “It is going to be a multi-use space for residents to enjoy and anything is possible for it.”

The SEAPARC commission invites the community to share their input about the facility at an upcoming meeting on July 28 at 5 p.m. Those who wish to attend must contact SEAPARC first, as space is limited due to physical distancing measures.

The federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan involves more than $180 billion being invested over 12 years in projects across the country. Working with B.C., more than $134 million is being provided for the first intake of the project applications under the Community Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream and more than $94 million is being provided for the first intake under the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream.

The second intake for both streams was announced on June 25 with up to $100.6 million in funding available for the culture and recreation stream and up to $58.7 million for the rural and northern communities stream. Applications for the first stream are due on Oct. 1 and Oct. 22 for the second.

-With files from Shalu Mehta

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