The Village of Burns Lake has budgeted $3 million in 2018 for complete reconstruction of a portion of Eighth Avenue/Centre Street.
The Eighth Avenue portion that would be reconstructed in phase one is from Hwy. 16 to Centre Street, while the Centre Street potion would be from Eight Avenue to Tenth Avenue.
A large portion of the project ($2.7 million) is expected to be funded through a Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund grant. The village expects to find out if the grant will be forthcoming by the end of March.
READ MORE: Eighth Avenue project still a priority
Application for this same grant funding was not successful in 2016. At the time, the village did not commit any of its own funds on the application. This time the village has committed $300,000 of its own funds toward the project.
Village staff believe that committing the village’s own funds will increase the likelihood of the grant application being approved.
“The application does not require a certain amount of applicant funding, but you have a better chance of being successful in the grant if you are supporting the project with some of your money,” explained Burns Lake director of public works Dale Ross. “Based on suggestions from our engineer, staff advised putting 10 per cent toward the project.”
Eighth Avenue has been a concern for local residents for several years. Council considers this repaving project a priority and had instructed staff to continue applying for grants whenever possible.
In a recent Village of Burns Lake survey, the majority of respondents (45 per cent) chose infrastructure – water, sewer, street repair – as their number one priority.
Phase two of the project would involve repaving the section from Eighth Avenue and Centre Street to Shelford Street at a cost of $3.68 million, bringing the total cost for both phases to over $6 million.
Since the maximum funding available to any one municipality under the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund is $6 million, village staff suggested just applying for phase one.
Over the past few years, village council and staff have considered other funding possibilities for the project. In 2015, council asked staff to look into borrowing options to fund the project in case the grant funding was not forthcoming; however, this plan did not move forward as it would have involved a substantial increase in taxes and it would’ve reduced the village’s borrowing capacity for up to 25 years.