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Delta getting $16M from province to prepare city for future growth

Harvie says money to be used for recreation facilities promised during municipal election
Delta Mayor George Harvie said the city’s will use the $16 million it is getting from the provincial government;s Growing Communities Fund to get a jump on a number of recreational projects promised during the last municipal election, including a second artificial turf field at Mackie Park and new tracks at Seaquam and Delta Secondary. (James Smith photo)

The City of Delta will be getting more than $16 million from the province’s recently announced Growing Communities Fund.

All 188 of B.C.’s municipalities and regional districts are getting a share of the $1-billion fund to address their specific infrastructure and amenities demands — things like recreation facilities, parks, road improvements and water-treatment plants — to help prepare for future growth and support new home construction.

“Our communities are growing and this puts more pressure on community centres, parks and swimming pools that families rely on. To help, we’re providing the single largest provincial investment in communities in B.C.’s history,” Premier David Eby said in a news release Friday (March 3)

“The new Growing Communities Fund will help local communities get building. Growing communities need our support and this funding will make a big difference for everyone.”

The grants will be distributed to municipalities and regional districts by the end of March using a funding formula that reflects population size and per-capita growth between 2016 and 2021, based on BC Stats data, based on an initial $500,000 per recipient.

Grants from the fund are intended to complement, rather than displace, existing infrastructure funding, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs will be providing further guidance to municipalities and regional districts on the use of their funds in the coming weeks.

The City of Delta’s share of the fund will be $16,060,000, a “historic” investment Housing Minister and Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon says will enable the community to fund key projects, ensuring that people have services they can rely on as populations grow.

“Good infrastructure and amenities are vital for communities like Delta to thrive,” Kahlon said in a press release. “Our government is making significant investments in our community to ensure that we are in a good place for years to come.”

Delta Mayor George Harvie called Friday’s funding announcement “a great day for Delta and for all cities and districts in the province.”

“I’m so pleased to see the government initiate this funding to all cities, municipalities and districts,” Harvie told the Reporter.

“With these unprecedented times with regards to cost of living; supply chain problems; [the price of] gasoline, fuel, etc.; and the fact that in Delta, along with other cities, we have our collective agreements all expired — and the trend right now for the ones that have settled are between 3.5 and 4.5 [per cent increase] — this really allows us to ensure that the 4.9 per cent [property] tax increase will be there to continue our core services and also to ensure that we can accommodate whatever rising labour costs that we have.”

“It provides a lot of financial relief to all cities, including Delta.”

Harvie said the funding will also allow the city to get a jump on a number of recreational projects promised as part of Achieving for Delta’s election platform — including a second artificial turf field at Mackie Park and new tracks at Seaquam and Delta Secondary — all without having to use Delta taxpayers’ dollars.

“We can’t build everything at once of course, but we will be proceeding with these projects now versus holding off,” he said. “We have to balance our budget, so we would have had to wait until towards the end of the year to see how our revenue streams are and will be. But this [grant] allows us now to proceed immediately.”

Harvie said he’ll meeting with council “very quickly” to decide which projects get priority.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the increase in the City of Delta’s property tax rate as 4.99 per cent.

— with files from Tom Zytaruk

RELATED: What you need to know about the B.C. government’s 2023 budget

SEE ALSO: Locke lauds $89.9M grant from provincial government

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James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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