Courtenay will be applying for a second grant to fund the majority of the proposed bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and runners.
The 6th Street Active Transportation Bridge would provide a dedicated cycling and pedestrian connection between Simms Millennium Park and downtown Courtenay.
At the May 9 meeting, council members unanimously supported an application for the city to apply to the CleanBC Communities Fund. This is in addition to the Infrastructure Canada’s Active Transportation Fund grant for which the city has already applied.
The new application, if successful, would cover up to 73 per cent of the cost of the project. The initial application would cover up to 60 per cent. With an estimated price of just over $4.1 million, if the most recent grant is awarded, the city’s own portion of the work would work out to $1,126,004, or 27 per cent.
The catch is that federal grant rules apply, so the city will not be able to use both if each application is successful.
“We are unable to stack additional federal grants,” project engineering technologist Adam Pitcher told council, adding other provincial grant sources could still be used for the project.
Another component to the project is public art. Staff said the city has been in discussions with K’ómoks First Nation, and one of the items on the agenda has been a proposed totem pole for a roundabout potentially at Simms Millennium Park.
Staff also highlighted four potential public art opportunities as part of the bridge itself.
These elements though would not be funded, as Coun. Wendy Morin pointed out, which raised some logistical issues around adding art components.
“We don’t have a public art policy in place,” she said.
As part of the presentation, staff showed some drawings with new features for the structure, which could be used for walking, running or cycling. The bridge is designed to have a four-metre wide deck, lookouts on each side of the bridge, lighting built into the handrails, a three-metre wide multi-use path connecting the Riverway trail to the bridge and upgrades to pathways at Simms Park.
“The design of a new bridge is quite an undertaking,” Pitcher said.
A key feature from the current design is the pull-out observation deck that juts out over the water.
“I really like the addition of the lookout,” said Coun. Melanie McCollum. “There’s a lot of value to providing some space along the river … over the river.”
Staff also updated council on the timeline for the project, which includes design work for the summer of 2022, and if either grant is successful, the work could start in 2023 or 2024. This would depend on factors such as environmental windows allowing construction.