New CBT grants no help for multi-use centre

CBT will be offering $3 million in new funding annually for next three years — totalling $9 million

The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) will be offering $3 million in new funding annually for next three years — totalling $9 million — through it new Recreation Infrastructure Grants, which are meant to construct new infrastructure or to make upgrades to existing infrastructure.

The grants are aimed at helping communities make improvements to structures and spaces, such as backcountry trail networks, swimming pools, ice rinks, curling arenas, sports fields and parks with the goal of encouraging Basin residents to lead active lifestyles; while supporting recreational tourism in the East Kootenay region.

“Residents have told us that recreation and physical activity are important to them both in terms of lifestyle and health,” said Neil Muth, CBT president and chief executive officer. “We’re pleased we can quickly address their needs and wishes by acting on this priority. Substantial support like this will help create significant benefits in the communities.”

The new grant program, he added in a recent press release, is aimed to support large scale projects in a short time period.

Several such projects — most prominently the planned new multi-use centre in Invermere — would at first blush seemed well-poised to take advantage of this new program. But Invermere mayor Gerry Taft, said previous funding applications (worth $500,000) to the CBT for the multi-use centre make it unlikely for the project to get any money through the new grants.

“The District of Invermere (DOI) has applied for significant funding from CBT,” said Mr. Taft. “The final decision and  announcement on this funding should come very soon. The money the DOI has applied for is distinct and separate from the new Recreational Infrastructure Grants announced recently.”

Mr. Taft believes the DOI will have an opportunity to apply to the new recreational grant stream for other projects, besides the multi-use centre, but anticipates trying to use the new grant program for the centre would result in rejection.

“It is unlikely that we would be able to ‘double dip’ and use any of the new recreational funding on this first phase of the multi-use centre,” he explained.

But the valley’s other major planned recreational infrastructure project — the Westside Legacy Trail — should have no such problem, and the Greenways Trail Alliance will be applying to the CBT for some of the new recreation infrastructure grant funding for the trail.

“We have contacted CBT and are awaiting specific funding requirements, amounts and other program details,” said Mark Hawla, Greenways Trail Alliance executive director. “Yes, our request will be for the Westside Legacy Trail.”

Other projects wishing to apply to the new CBT program, should contact manager Rick Allen at 1-800-505-8998 or e-mail to discuss project ideas.