The city is applying for two grants to help cover the costs of a stormwater drain project and a new arena.

The city is submitting applications for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure (ICIP) in Saskatchewan grant which closes on March 31. Two applications are being submitted in two different streams.

The first, the community, culture and recreation infrastructure stream, will assist in the construction of a new arena to replace the ageing Centennial Civic Centre. The cost for the new arena is $39.7 million which the city would cover $10.6 million.

Mayor Gerald Aalbers says it’s important for the city to apply as soon as they can as there is only $56 million available for projects in the province. 

“The sooner we send indications to the provincial and federal governments that this is a priority project from the communities perspective, it’s important to get into what they call the queue.”

If accepted, construction on the new arena would have to be completed by 2027 in order to receive the funding. However, Aalbers says the timelines may be changed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s the conditions of the grant application today set out by the government months ago by the federal and provincial governments. In light of the current situation in our country and in our world, I suspect deadlines will have the ability to be moved.”

Aalbers says they are asking for the maximum amount of money for the project. He says it’s a lesson learned when gathering funding for the wastewater treatment plant.

“When you’re in a funding arrangement and they’re only funding a percentage of it we’d rather make sure that we apply for more. If we can deliver for less than 39.7 million than the government saves and so does the taxpayer.”

If the timelines aren’t pushed back, Aalbers says the city will do what they can to ensure the building is done by 2027.

The second stream called the Green Infrastructure – Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation would cover costs in relation to the stormwater retention system. The city is applying to fund the Lake J Control Structure.

If accepted at the full amount the costs would break down to $1.6 million from the federal government, $1.3 from the province and $1.07 from the city. The project has already been budgeted by the city but Aalbers says the funding will help keep costs down.

City staff planned to add engineering cost for the drainage channel improvements but because work has already started it cannot receive funding.

Aalbers says another reason to apply for these projects early is it helps the local economy during the current situation.

“There is a potential to see infrastructure money come forward easier to ensure local building jobs and stimulate the local economy.”