New arts and culture center for Richmond announced

A total of $137 million in federal-provincial funding will be available for “dozens” of similar projects across the province

Federal, provincial and local politicians were in Richmond today to announce one of dozens of municipal infrastructure grants worth more than $130 million for a variety of community projects, from new swimming pools and artificial turf fields to city arts and cultural centers , parishes and First Nations communities throughout BC

“We have dozens and dozens of projects that are being publicly announced today totaling well over $130 million in public investment in our communities,” BC Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen said at a news conference in Monday Richmond.

Richmond will receive $2.23 million in federal and provincial funding to “repurpose” its old Minoru Seniors Center into an annex for the city’s arts and cultural center: $133,000 from the federal government and $2.1 million from the province.

When the new Minoru Center for Active Living was built in Richmond, there were plans to demolish the city’s old swimming pool and Minoru Seniors Centre.

The pool was demolished, but Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said there were 10 to 20 years to live in the old senior center building. And since the arts and culture center right next door — which houses the city’s main library and art museum — ran out of space, the city decided to seek government funding to help the city finance the senior center for its art and culture repurpose program.

“We wanted to repurpose it because the arts programs at the cultural center are bursting at the seams,” Brodie said. “They have 16,000, 17,000 square feet in the old senior center, and the grant that we’re getting today goes toward the repurposing.”

The overall project is budgeted at US$3.3 million, of which US$2.23 million will be funded by the federal and provincial governments. The new arts and culture annex will include dance, pottery and art studios.

The old senior center is currently being used as a temporary shelter for the homeless. Homeless people using it now will be relocated to other homeless shelters in Richmond when the old senior center is renovated.

Federal and provincial governments are investing $137 million in recreational and green infrastructure in 57 communities in BC, said Secretary of Fisheries and Oceans Joyce Murray on behalf of the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

“More than half of that investment goes into community and recreation infrastructure,” she said. “Another 22 projects will improve rural and northern neighborhoods through community centers, gardens, museums and playgrounds.”

Some of the other projects funded through the joint federal and provincial community infrastructure grant scheme include a new water sports center in the district of Kent (Agassiz) and a new community center in Anmore.

A number of First Nations communities will receive grants of $3 million to $4 million each, with funding coming solely from the federal government.

Most of these grants are for new recreational and/or cultural centers in the community, with grantees including the Kitselas First Nation, McLeod Lake Indian Band, Nadleh Whut’en and Xeni Gwet’in (Tsilhqot’in).

nbennett@biv.com

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