City council approved a resolution on Wednesday to seek project funding through the Investing in Canada infrastructure grant program offered by the federal government. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer seeks federal funding for infrastructure

Expressions of interest to be filed for Investing in Canada grants

Red Deer city council has jumped on the opportunity to apply for federal funding for potential infrastructure projects including a $35-million expansion of G.H. Dawe Community Centre and a $9.1-million project to repair and upgrade the CPR pedestrian bridge and trails.

A $5.4-million sanitary and storm water system for College Park, and a $11.9-million wetlands restoration and enhancement project north of Hwy 11A were also identified.

Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure grant program, the federal government will provide up to 40 per cent of expenses, the province pays 33.33 per cent, and the municipality contributes the remaining funds. Projects must be completed by Oct. 31, 2027. Council held a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the federal funding applications.

Expressions of interest are due August. 1

Mayor Tara Veer said all of the projects are in the city’s capital plan, but council has yet to approve them. Seeking funding does not mean they are approved and moving forward.

“They are not currently budgeted projects in the fact that they have yet to receive funding approval, but we know that they are imminent and there’s some strategic timing around some of theses projects and pressures,” Veer said.

She said council may look favourably upon the projects if funding is secured, but they would still have to be added to the capital budget in November or at subsequent capital budget meetings.

The city tries to maximize infrastructure dollars so it doesn’t have to rely on just the property tax base. Administration looked at different projects that could potentially be eligible to meet grant requirements, she said.

She said G.H. Dawe expansion has been a long-standing recreation project on the books to meet the needs of north Red Deer, but also the community in general.

Core infrastructure upgrades in College Park are necessary and securing funds would be beneficial for Red Deerians. The city has also known for many years that the CPR bridge would require upgrades, she said.

“It’s very expensive, of course, to maintain that heritage resource so we submitted on that specifically.”

Veer said the city is trying to balance growth between its north and south, and funding for wetlands restoration north of Hwy 11A between Hazlett Lake and the Red Deer River to the east, will be helpful particularly in a recession.

If projects pass the expression of interest stage, a full application for each project would need to be submitted.

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