A federal/provincial grant that was anticipated to fund a new pool in St. Davids has been rejected.
If the Town is going to look at paying for it, it’s likely going to be through the 10-year capital budget, interim CAO Sheldon Randall told councillors at Monday night’s virtual planning meeting.
An Aug. 27 information report to council quotes the provincial rejection letter that says the intake of the funding stream “was highly competitive, and total demand reached upwards of $10 billion against total available joint funding (federal-provincial-applicant) of nearly $1 billion.”
A pool fundraising committee struck last winter of six residents, along with Couns. John Wiens and Gary Burroughs, has not met yet, nor has a goal been set, while the Town waited for news of the grant.
On the suggestion of Coun. Allan Bisback Monday, councillors discussed dividing the funding target into two tracks, one for the fundraising committee, the other to continue looking for other grants.
The report to council also says town staff are anticipating opening the St. Davids Pool next summer, “pending any COVID constraints,” or major mechanical problems.
Randall cautioned council Monday that while the goal is to see it open in 2021, “our largest concern is a major failure” that would shut it down mid-season.
He also warned of “competing needs” in the community, including major fundraising campaigns, for the Shaw Festival, the Niagara Nursery School, and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum. “These are very, very difficult times to be raising funds,” he said.
Although Randall suggested the pool could be included in 2021 budget committee discussions, “I don’t think the municipality will be in a position to fund this from the capital budget in 2021,” suggesting they look at the 10-year plan.