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City seeking federal, provincial funds for three major projects

The expansion of the Oshawa Museum is one of three major projects the council was considering in a bid for a Canada Infrastructure grant at its latest meeting.

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The city is applying to receive federal and provincial funding for three major construction projects.

Council approved a staff recommendation to apply for a Canada Infrastructure Grant for the projects at its Oct. 15 meeting.

The first project under the bid is the reconstruction of Rotary Pool.

The pool is currently in need of significant upgrades and repairs.

The city is applying for $6.112 million in funding, $3,334 million from the feds and $2.778 million from the province.

If approved, Oshawa would kick in $2.223 million, $900,000 from development charges, and the rest from tax levies.

The second project is for $7.2 million towards redeveloping and building new splash pads across the city.

The city is seeking $5.28 million of federal/provincial funding for nine splash pads. If successful, Oshawa would contribute $1.92 million from the general tax levy.

The redeveloped splash pads would be at Easton, Lake Vista, MacKenzie, Northview and Baker parks.

New facilities would be built at Pinecrest, Connaught, Kedron, and Dundee parks.

The final project included in the grant bid is the expansion of the Oshawa Museum.

According to city staff, reports from both 1996 and 2016 show the museum is quickly running out of space.

Museum officials stressed the need for the expansion during a presentation to the city’s community services committee in May.

Ward 1 city and regional councillor John Neal put forth a motion to have the parking lot and park at the Columbus Community Centre added to the list.

He said the project has been included in the city’s budget for the past two years, but has not been completed.

“It needs work terribly. If we can get this in, I’d appreciate it,” Neal told his fellow councillors.

Commissioner of finance Stephanie Sinnott said the community centre is eligible for funding, but a detailed project description and scope of the work would be required. The deadline for bids is Nov. 12.

Ward 1 city councillor Rosemary McConkey was displeased the project list had been prepared without the input of council.

She and Mayor Dan Carter engaged in argument over whether all of the city’s ward were equally represented in the projects.

McConkey said the list of splash pads included in the bid doesn’t include any parks in Ward 1.

Ward 5 city and regional councillor Brian Nicholson said while he appreciates Neal and McConkey representing their constituents, there are projects other ward councillors would like to see that were not included. He worried by not approving the bid immediately, the city would run the risk of losing funding “for the whole package.”

Ward 3 city and regional councillor Bob Chapman noted all three projects had gone through city committees at some point.

He said there’s projects in his ward he’d like to see on the list but the process of how the three had been selected was pretty straightforward.

“Adding something at the 11th hour before we do the approval isn’t the appropriate process,” Chapman said.

Carter then told councillors while they are ward representatives, council’s approach should be for “the betterment of the entire city.”

“Under our duty, we are representatives for all residents… all people,” he said.

McConkey then interrupted the mayor, stating the rural community of Oshawa is not often represented.

Council eventually defeated Neal’s amendment by a seven to four vote. Ward 5 city councillor John Gray, and Ward 2 city councillor Jane Hurst were also in favour.