B.C.’s provincial government has approved grants totalling over $10 million for cycling infrastructure projects across the province.
The grants, administered through the BikeBC program, help communities pay for new bikeways, or improve safety and accessibility on existing pathways.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said funding for the program has increased to $10 million this fiscal year from $6 million.
Municipalities apply for the grants through the cycling infrastructure website.
The grants cover 50 per cent of the eligible project’s costs in larger communities, and up to 75 per cent in communities with fewer than 15,000 people.
This year’s projects — 28 in total — are spread across the province from Vancouver Island to Northern B.C.
Major projects in Saanich, North Vancouver
Some major projects include $1 million for the District of Saanich for buffered bike lanes between McKenzie Avenue and Torquay Drive, and another $1 million for the District of Tofino for a separated, multi-use path from the Tofino Information Centre to the northern boundary of the Pacific Rim National Park.
The Regional District of East Kootney will receive $1 million for a separated 25-kilometre multi-use pathway from Invermere to Fairmont Hot Springs.
Vancouver is receiving $1 million for upgrades to the downtown bike network. North Vancouver will get $1 million toward the Casano-Loutet cycling and pedestrian bridge over Highway 1.
Artist’s concept of the new St. Paul’s Hospital. PNG
The B.C. government hasn’t yet announced cabinet and Treasury Board approval for the St. Paul’s Hospital redevelopment plan.
But that hasn’t stopped donations from pouring in.
Tomorrow morning, the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation is set to announce – at the Sheraton Wall Centre – a sizeable donation for the new hospital that is expected to open in 2024 on the False Creek flats.
Nor has the lack of government approval precluded tonight’s invitation-only gala for “the new St. Paul’s.”
Red invitations like the one you see in this post have been sent to past and future donors.
The email invitation to the event at the Rocky Mountaineer was a bit of a surprise given the lack of government approval but I’m told this is not unusual for hospital fundraisers.
They need to get philanthropists on board long before governments issue press releases. And despite a $75 million pledge from Jimmy Pattison for the new hospital campus that will bear his name, the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation has plenty of fundraising to do since the project will likely cost well over $1 billion.
A ministry of health spokeswoman said the government has nothing to announce on St. Paul’s yet so it regards the gala as a routine fundraising event.
(In 2012, the former Liberal government committed to funding of $500 million for the hospital redevelopment; I’m assuming that amount will have to increase substantially given the passage of time and increase in construction costs).
We can safely assume that financial institutions will have no hesitation granting construction loans since, apart from the fact taxpayers underwriting this massive project, the current site of the hospital on Burrard Street is expected to yield hundreds of millions of dollars when the hospital is torn down and the land sold off to developers.
The fact the government hasn’t announced its approval of the business plan hasn’t stopped the City of Vancouver rezoning process. Expect that process to take at least a year.
The new St. Paul’s Hospital campus rezoning concept envisions multiple buildings. IBI Group has submitted the application for the 18.5 acre site. It includes the new hospital, retail/commercial space, research facilities, professional offices childcare facilities and a hotel.
Community engagement is occurring now. It’s not clear how long the public engagement process will take before hearings on the applications to rezone the False Creek flats site from industrial to mixed use.
But it’s imperative civic politicians take into account the need for affordable housing close to the hospital since nurses and other healthcare providers are struggling to live in Vancouver, even with their solid salaries and incomes.
Indeed, I’m repeatedly hearing that nursing vacancies are becoming increasingly difficult to fill because of the housing affordability crisis.
A new hospital must be accompanied by affordable housing for the people who will work in it. The Jim Pattison Medical Centre, as it will be called, should have a residential component either on the campus or directly on the outskirts.
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