The qathet Regional District has received a grant of nearly $4.2 million to build an addition to the Northside Community Recreation Center.
The federal and B.C. governments are providing $4,199,082 for the new building, estimated to cost up to $5.7 million. The money is through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).
In an interview with Vista Radio, a very happy qRD Operational Services Manager Patrick Devereaux says this project has been years in the making.
“The qRD staff would love to thank the Lund Community Society for their input, the board of the qathet Regional District, particularly Area A director Patrick Brabazon, ongoing support to make this happen,” Devereaux said.
He says the addition is “very important” for the community as the society lost the recreational side of its facilities about a decade ago. The small building they had was “lost to disrepair and it was on private land” where the landowners didn’t want the building anymore.
“They (Lund Community Society) really are the backbone behind this and the push and they have been working on this for many years. The project planning has gone back more than half a dozen years,” Devereaux said.
The building add-on would be right angled to the existing building, creating an L-shape layout with a common entrance. The 7,000 square foot addition would have a half-court gym, a hall with seating for 200 plus a stage for theatrical productions. There would also be upgrades to the existing kitchen to bring it to commercial standards.
In a news release Friday, Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons called the addition a “win-win for the qathet Regional District and its residents.”
The regional district will have to take out a loan for its share of the project, estimated at up to $1.1 million.
The qRD says a 30 year loan will cost between $34,000 and $69,000 in annual debt payments. There’s also a $569,184 reserve fund, raised by the society for this project, that will be used.
The district still has to get approval from the electorate in Area A through an “alternative approval process.” If fewer than 10 per cent disapprove of the borrowing, it will move ahead. If more than 10 per cent disapprove, it goes to a referendum.
Devereaux said, if all goes well, it’s hoped that sod turning for the expansion would happen next summer and would be completed in 2024.
The existing building on Larson Bay Road was the former Lund elementary school that was bought years ago and leased to the Lund Community Society.
In a message on its website, the Lund Community Society said the building committee “will be meeting shortly.”