GVHA, Belfry Theatre receive funding for upgrades

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and the Belfry Theatre are receiving injections of federal funding for upgrades, renos

Several organizations on Vancouver Island including the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and the Belfry Theatre are receiving injections of federal funding to complete much-need renovations.

As part of the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, the federal government is doling out $150 million over the next two years to be delivered by regional development agencies across the province, $46 million of which is dedicated to Western Canada.

“I think the projects that were selected, and that you’ll be hearing about in the next few weeks, are all very representative of the spirit that we’re trying to promote in the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary,” said Michelle Rempel, minister of state for western economic diversification.

“I just had a moment talking to one of these recipients, these investments, while they might not be huge in terms of dollar value, they have a really significant impact on the community.”

Eleven projects in the province were awarded funding for renovations, rehabilitation and upgrades, including Twinflower Park playground, Craigflower Manor, Panorama Recreation Centre, the Belfry Theatre and Victoria’s downtown waterfront.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority was awarded $250,000 of which will be used to revitalize the downtown waterfront.

The harbour authority will also kick in another $250,000 for the project.

Tentative plans include widening the useable surface area, removing planter boxes and terraces areas, re-surfacing the walking to preserve its structural integrity. They also hope to add new trees, gardens, benches and maritime-themed arts and cultural features.

“It’s the doorstep to Victoria. It’s important that we make it welcoming for visitors around the world and it’s also an area that residents use throughout the year. We want to make sure it continues to be inviting and that we provide space for various activities that go on down there,” said Ian Robertson, GVHA CEO.

“We’re very mindful of the fact that this is a heritage area. No work will be done until we have full support from the City of Victoria and their heritage advisory committee.”

Renovations will begin in fall 2016 and is expected to be complete by July 2017.

The Belfry Theatre will use its $340,000 to expanding the existing lobby area, replace theatre seating and improve wheelchair accessibility.

“The Belfry is excited and grateful for this contribution towards a project that will increase the comfort and experience of those who use our beautiful heritage building,” said Helen Lansdowne with the Belfry Theatre board of directors.

The program is part of the federal government’s activities to honour Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation in 2017.