The majority of Thunder Bay city council feel the federal government’s new community infrastructure funding should go towards the Centennial Botanical Conservatory.
The Conservative government laid out its Canada 150 Community Infrastructure fund on Friday. The new source of funding, which is to help mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, is aimed at providing support for renovations, expansions and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure that provides community and cultural benefits to the public.
Some projects that are eligible for funding include community centres, parks, docks, cenotaphs, recreational trails and museums.
The Canada 150 funding is intended to complement the $53-billion invested through the New Building Canada Plan.
The Chronicle-Journal took a quick poll from city council and the majority felt the conservatory on Dease Street warranted the federal help.
Northwood Coun. Shelby Ch’ng said she would love to see the Canada 150 funding go towards refurbishing the conservatory. She said she was impressed by how the community came together to keep the facility alive.
“This is a top priority for me,” said Ch’ng, who owns a bridal store.
“I would also like to see the (Chippewa Park Carousel) funded as well. This is a working and usable piece of history and I feel that housing this structure will bring a renewed energy to the space. I know that many of my brides would love to use the space for their wedding. The chain fence now is a bit of a turnoff.”
At-Large Coun. Iain Angus wanted to see the funding go towards the conservatory and the carousel as well as for Centennial Park.
Fellow At-Large Coun. Frank Pullia called the conservatory a natural fit for the program.
“With the help of a community group like Friends of the Conservatory, attendance has almost tripled in the last year and support to maintain and enhance such great community asset has increased significantly,” he said. “Given our long winters, the conservatory is a great place for families and friends to visit and find an oasis of peace, tranquillity, and learning. This funding would provide an opportunity to expand the facility and increase its programming for a great community participation and enjoyment while making it more financially sustainable.”
Current River Coun. Andrew Foulds, who also supports the idea of the funding going towards the conservatory, sees an expansion of the city’s trail system as another possible contender for the cash.
“I do believe we should build on legacy,” he said. “I would love to have a legacy trail commemorating the 150th anniversary of Canada. Not only should we be investing in our existing legacy projects but perhaps for our 150th anniversary we should be expanding a legacy project that is accessible to everyone.”