Qualicum Beach council has made roundabout at Village Way and Highway 19 a top priority, over a proposed all-season turf upgrade at the community park.
At its regular meeting on Jan. 13, Mayor Brian Wiese and Coun. Teunis Westbroek voted against Coun. Scott Harrison’s notice of motion that council withdraw its application for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure grant for the roundabout and to instead reinforce its bid for funding for the artificial turf project.
The roundabout project costs are listed at $1,986,510.42, while the community park field upgrades have been priced at $4,959,590. The Oceanside Youth Soccer Society has committed $235,000 to the turf plan.
Harrison feels that by prioritizing the lower-cost grant they might be “short-changing the town” based on past grants that the town has received for other projects that included the Memorial Avenue roundabout and sewer upgrades.
Wiese expressed doubt the town will get any funding for the turf field project.
“I do believe that in my mind but we might get some positive results on the roundabout,” said Wiese.
Westbroek again pointed out that the roundabout project has been in the works long before they applied for a grant in October 2018. All the engineering work has been done, he said.
“Governments, provincial and federal, they like projects that are so-called shovel ready,” said Westbroek. “We spent, I believe, about $100,000 on the engineering and design and so on. And you often don’t go in on the first go around to get a grant for something like this. But as I have learned from other grants for ring roads and other things, that after you are showing some persistence and you start preparing for your own share to cover the cost of this, you’re more likely to get the opportunity to do this project. And I think people have been waiting for a long time.”
Harrison said the town should get grants for both projects but that it was unlikely to happen.