The North Thompson Agriplex phase two is ready to get underway this spring thanks to $238,680 in provincial funding awarded to the Barriere Community Recreation Project through the province’s Community Recreation Program. The funding was announced by Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong last Saturday in Kamloops. The grant also includes the cost of upgrades to the Barriere Curling Rink’s ice-making equipment.
The Agriplex’s phase two will see the construction of an addition to the new 2,787 square-metre (30,000 sq. ft.) building that will house washrooms, change rooms with showers, office space and public lobby space. It is one of 98 successful projects approved through the $30-million Community Recreation Program, first announced by Premier Christy Clark at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in September 2011. Building healthier communities and providing important amenities to support B.C. families is part of Premier Clark’s Families First Agenda.
Under this initiative, the Province is funding up to 80 per cent of eligible costs for projects that enhance recreation infrastructure provincewide. Projects include trails, bike paths, walkways, playgrounds and other indoor or outdoor recreation centres. Smaller and rural communities were given priority in the selection process.
“By increasing the availability of recreational spaces and providing opportunities for people of all ages to participate in physical activity, the program helps strengthen communities and makes them more attractive to families while building the local economy,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, “Getting out and being active enables British Columbians to enjoy better health, build stronger community connections and enjoy the many amenities this great province has to offer.”
Agriplex Project Committee co-chair and North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association president Jill Hayward said the help from the province comes at a most opportune time. “The Agriplex is receiving a tremendous amount of interest from groups and events that want to utilize the building,” said Hayward, “It is really imperative that we finish phase two this year so the Agriplex is fully functional. We are also excited to see the curling rink receive funding for new ice making equipment, which they so desperately need. Today’s support for Barriere and the residents in our area from the province’s Community Recreation Program is most appreciated.”
Also announced were four other area projects that will receive funding through the program:
• The Clearwater North Thompson Sportsplex Dressing Room Expansion – $400,000. The project will include constructing washrooms, installing overhead doors, drywall, T-bar ceiling, electric hand dryers, cabinets, vanities and HVAC system.
• The Sun Peaks Community Recreation Centre Phase 1 – $400,000. Phase 1 will build a multi-sport facility with the flexibility to function as a covered ice arena during the winter months, as well as an indoor field for multiple sports during the spring, summer and fall seasons.
• The Chase Memorial Park Wharf Rebuild Project – $365,600
• The Kamloops Lorne Street Corridor Enhancement Project – $250,000
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake said, “The Community Recreation Program, which provides up to 80 per cent of funding for recreation infrastructure projects, helps build vibrant communities where residents can thrive. We know many British Columbians love to be active, and increasing the overall recreation infrastructure in this province will give people greater access to a broad range of potential activities.”
The entire list of successful Community Recreation Program applicants from throughout the Province will be unveiled during the coming weeks. The total value of approved projects is more than $70 million, which will create an estimated 458 direct jobs and 251 indirect jobs.