The federal government has announced it has invested $125,000 through the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund in the last year to assist in two Saanich-based projects.
The first was a $67,000 grant to assist the Swan Lake-Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary in the restoration of the Martelli house. The home was gifted from Saanich to the sanctuary in 2012 to give the nature sanctuary more space to expand its programming.
“The budget for restoring the house was about $150,000, so this (grant) was everything. We could not have done it without the help of the fund,” said Erik Lund, board chair for the sanctuary. That project was completed, save for a new coat of paint, earlier this year.
The second grant went to the municipality to assist in upgrading Majestic Park in Gordon Head.
Coun. Susan Brice says the Majestic Park retrofit allowed Saanich to build a more inclusive park.
“People who live in the community need to live full lives, and any aspects of the community that are not accessible to them limit their enjoyment,” she said.
“We consider (the accessibility upgrades at Majestic Park) a totally necessary and appropriate park of inclusion. So we are doing whatever we can to make every natural experience available, regardless of age and physical capabilities.”
The park project was completed in spring 2013.
Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, says the grants are a way to give communities a boost.
“It’s not about opening a new hockey rink or big flashy things, it’s about investing in community infrastructure that needs a bit of sprucing up or renewal,” she said.