Infrastructure projects in the Abbotsford-Mission riding are set to receive over $2.2 million in provincial grants to help recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19.
Funding for four projects (three relating to Mission) were recently announced including: The Mission Museum Restoration Project; a new 7,000 square foot greenhouse facility for the Leq’a:mel First Nation; and the Mission Community Skills Centre Society’s Fraser Valley Artisans’ Food Centre.
“British Columbians have been working hard to keep each other safe since last March, and it’s important that we invest in their futures and the path forward,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for the Abbotsford-Mission area.
“Whether building new infrastructure or upgrading current landmarks, this funding will help communities recover by creating new revenue opportunities and boosting tourism once we can all travel freely again.”
The Mission Museum Rehabilitation Project will repair Mission’s museum from years of degradation through a $96,000 grant to the District of Mission. Staff conducted a study several years ago to gauge the extent of the renovations.
The repairs include replacing the exterior cedar shingles, the upper floor window trim, installing new metal wall flashing, said Mike Younie, CAO for the district, who added the scope could be expanded once work starts.
“It’s been sitting for a long time, it’s old, (and) there’s water infiltration,” Younie said. “We’re going to try and salvage and reuse the existing wood wherever possible if it’s not too far damaged.”
Younie said renovations should be complete by next fall.
Leq’á:mel First Nation will be receiving nearly $1 million for the development and construction of a cannabis micro-grow facility, which is meant to create its own source of revenue.
“We’re pretty excited about it. It’s an opportunity for us to develop that market,” said Ron Smith, CEO of the Leq’a:mel Development Corporation. “It’s going to be a great project for employment, (as well as for) some of the construction of the building as well.”
Smith said they have been looking at developing a facility for several years, and while the exact numbers are confidential, the project will be a significant source of revenue.
The greenhouse will have some secondary products growing, but its primary use will be for cannabis, Smith said. Construction is slated to start in spring.
The Mission Community Skills Centre will be creating a new “food hub,” and is set to receive up to $750,000 to purchase food-processing equipment and to cover other startup costs in partnership with the District of Mission.
The hub will be located in Abbotsford, and the province is providing another $999,450 to retrofit and upgrade the building, which is located at the former site of the Abbotsford District Teachers’ Association.
MCSC executive director Stephen Evans said it’s not yet known when the hub will be fully operational, but it’s hoped that the shared kitchen will be up and running by the fall.
The project includes a tasting kitchen, links to resources to help all types of ag-food businesses and skills training, including food services, restaurants, retail, catering, manufacturing and processing.
The projects are being funded through the B.C.’s CERIP (Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program) which is providing $100 million in one-time infrastructure grants. The program is part of the larger provincial COVID-19 response, which is set to spend $10 billion.
According to the press release, “These projects will improve community economic resilience, develop tourism infrastructure, support unique heritage infrastructure, and support economic recovery for rural communities.”
– with files from Vikki Hopes