Town reviving plans for soccer field for Canada 150

Centennial Park: Space commemorating centennial of Canada could be getting an update 50 years later.

In preparation for the 150th anniversary of confederation in Canada, the federal government, along with Western Economic Diversification Canada, has committed to investing $150 million in community infrastructure — and the town is hoping to use that money to revive a previously shelved project at Centennial Park.

In order to be eligible for funding, a project must be for the benefit of the public, community-oriented, non-commercial and not limited to private membership. The maximum grant that can be received from the Canada 150 program is $500,000, and the grant cannot exceed 50 per cent of the cost of the project.

The Town of Lake Cowichan will be applying for the full amount of $500,000 in order to supplement the cost of a $1.25 million upgrade to take place at Centennial Park. This upgrade, which includes the addition of a soccer field, was originally planned in 2008. The town applied for several grants in order to cover the cost of the project, but unfortunately could not secure funding and had to shelve the project.

Joe Fernandez, the town’s CAO, explained that the project was chosen this time around in order to meet the tight deadline of the Canada 150 program, as the deadline for applications is June 17, meaning the town did not have enough time to prepare a plan for a new project. The project is also significant due to its location in Centennial Park, which marked the centennial of Canada in 1967.

“This project was something that we had that was almost shovel-ready,” Fernandez said. “Nothing else was even close to being ready when we decided to apply for the grant.”

Fernandez also noted that the total cost of the project would have to be updated before being submitted, as prices have surely changed since the budget was first drawn up seven years ago. If the town’s grant application is successful, the project is expected to completed before March 2018.