By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Hoping to get their hands on some federal cash, city councillors have approved a list of projects, with the goal they’ll meet the government’s criteria as part of the second phase of the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.
Topping the list is the rehabilitation of Glen Stewart Park, which is in dire need of work, followed by a pedestrian bridge inside Oshawa’s Harbour Lands.
Funds for the Simcoe Street enhanced gateway planned for the north end and the modernization of the downtown’s decorative street lighting also made the list.
Overall, the projects total nearly $1.9 million, of which councillors are hoping $857,000 will be paid by the feds.
As part of the CIP 150 program, initiated by the feds last year, FedDev Ontario will be dispersing approximately $44.4 million to Ontario municipalities, with a maximum of $1 million per city. Projects are eligible for up to 50 per cent funding and must be focused on building a clean growth economy.
As part of the original list proposed by city staff, rehabilitation work at the Bond Street West and Mary Street parking garages was suggested, but were quickly scrapped by councillors during a special meeting.
Councillor John Aker said the projects were “dead” and had slim chance of approval.
Councillor Nancy Diamond said council needs to be more selective of the projects it puts forward. For that reason, Diamond put forward the new list of projects – topped with Glen Stewart Park – which was eventually approved.
“I can understand the need for things such as the parking garage, but I didn’t believe we’d be successful,” she said, adding they “do bells and whistles for the feds.”
The estimated $610,000 of work needed at Glen Stewart Park is the costliest item on the list. Work includes replacing the parking lot, playground equipment and splash pad, along with a pedestrian bridge and drainage/grading work along the creek.
Close behind in cost is the pedestrian bridge for the Harbour Lands to replace the bridge over the Oshawa Creek that is currently condemned. Work for that project could cost as much as $600,000.
The first phase of the Canada 150 program saw Oshawa approved for several projects in July 2015, including $117,500 for exterior upgrades and an HVAC system replacement at the Canadian Automotive Museum, $170,000 for roof repairs at the Northview Community Centre and more than $500,000 for renovations of the Glass Gardens Greenhouse Complex through the Parkwood Foundation.