News Local

Barrie projects get provincial cash

Bob Bruton

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

Kristen Dawson, chief executive officer and program director at Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka, holds a plaque which the organization received during Tuesday's funding announcement. Gilda's Club was one of four groups in Barrie to receive a grant from the Ontario 150 Community Capital Program, funding that is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a provincial agency. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Kristen Dawson, chief executive officer and program director at Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka, holds a plaque which the organization received during Tuesday's funding announcement. Gilda's Club was one of four groups in Barrie to receive a grant from the Ontario 150 Community Capital Program, funding that is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a provincial agency. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Four projects in Barrie will receive nearly $350,000 in provincial funding, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.

The city is getting $260,000 for a basketball court/artificial ice rink at Centennial Park, the Women & Children Shelter $39,400, the MacLaren Art Centre $26,500 and Gilda's Club $24,000.

“This gift will allow us to deliver on the promise that no one faces cancer alone,” said Kristen Dawson, CEO and program manager of Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka.

Its grant will replace the water heater, HVAC system control components and fix flooding issues at the Quarry Ridge Road facility. The work is expected to have an impact on the lives of 2,000 people in the community.

“This is a very special place,” said Eleanor McMahon, Ontario's Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, who announced the funding. “All of us have been touched by cancer.”

Gilda's Club provides free social and emotional support for people feeling the impact of cancer.

“This is a place of hope, a place of community,” said Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth. “You will not be alone on this journey.”

The Ontario 150 Community Capital Program is handing out $25 million to more than 200 capital projects across the province, funding that is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a provincial agency.

The $260,000 infrastructure improvement grant to Barrie's Centennial Park is to install, during a 14-month period, a basketball court which will double as an outdoor artificial rink.

Its goal is to provide infrastructure for unstructured and structured physical activities there, and the ministry says it will have an impact on the lives of almost 100,000 people in the community.

Coun. Barry Ward said this project is in the city's capital budget and it lists a $260,000 contribution from the province.

“So I guess staff was expecting it,” he said. “If we hadn’t received the money, I guess the project would have been shelved or we’d have found the funding elsewhere.”

Ward said he had just been reading the capital budget on the weekend and noticed it.

“I wasn’t familiar with the project until then, although I knew the city was looking to make the ice rink permanent,” he said.

Unknown is how this project would affect Centennial Park Community Ice Rink, along Lakeshore Drive. The artificial ice rink is in its third season, a collaboration of gifts from city residents and businesses.

The Women & Children Shelter grant of $39,400 will, during five months, pay to install new fire detection equipment and buy new windows to achieve better energy efficiency. This initiative is helping people who are isolated in their community, and has an impact on the lives of 6,400 people, the ministry says.

The MacLaren's $26,500 grant, also during five months, is to enhance the Mulcaster Street gallery's cultural space through the installation of sculptures. The ministry says this project is helping the arts, culture and heritage have appropriate spaces, and has an impact on the lives of 46,000 people in the community.

The Ontario 150 Community Capital Program is expected to result in almost 1.4 million square feet of renovated space across the province, and provide more than 36,000 hours of additional availability for physical activity and arts programming.

“(It) will positively impact people right across the province by improving public spaces like parks and youth centres,” McMahon said. “Our investments in these important projects will build a strong social, cultural and economic legacy for our communities for years to come.”

Tuesday's funding announcements were made at Gilda's Club, which is appropriate.

It is a place to find inspiration in a community atmosphere with others who are facing cancer. Its mission is to ensure that all people impacted by any cancer receive the knowledge they need, are strengthened by action and sustained by community.

Gilda's Club also has innovative programs of networking and support groups, education workshops and social activities.

Ontario is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a province in 2017.

bbruton@postmedia.com

 



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