Restor­ing the Bridge House

The Packet (Clarenville) - - FRONT PAGE -

The seeds for the part­ner­ship were planted last fall when John Nor­man, COO of Bon­av­ista Liv­ing and Bon­av­ista Cre­ative, and David Bradley, chair­man of the Town­scape Foun­da­tion talked about the next steps af­ter the har­bour front de­vel­op­ment project. The har­bour front de­vel­op­ment project saw the in­stal­la­tion of side­walks and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion in the in­ner har­bour area of Bon­av­ista.

Bradley says Nor­man was in­ter­ested in the project as it sup­ports much of the work his com­pa­nies has been do­ing in the town.

He called Bon­av­ista Cre­ative’s in­vest­ment, “crit­i­cally im­por­tant” to en­sure the build­ing is re­stored.

“Ob­vi­ously we have to find the other 90 per cent, but in re­cent years, pub­lic fund­ing agen­cies have been sup­port­ing large com­mu­nity eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects of this type only if there is a min­i­mum 10 per cent con­tri­bu­tion from ‘non­govern­men­tal’ sources,” Bradley told The Packet. “Your own mu­nic­i­pal­ity can’t even be listed as a con­trib­u­tor on that 10 per cent — you need pri­vate sec­tor dol­lars.”

Bradley says this con­tri­bu­tion shores up that end of the fund­ing need, an es­sen­tial con­tri­bu­tion sometimes hard to find.

Bradley says he thinks Town­scape should be able to come up with the re­main­ing 90 per cent to make the restora­tion a re­al­ity — be­cause they’ve done it be­fore.

In 2015, Ocean Choice In­ter­na­tional con­trib­uted $100,000 to the Camp­bell Street project, the Foun­da­tion raised another $150,000, com­plet­ing the 10 per cent of that $2.5 mil­lion project, which is close to com­ple­tion.

In 2007-08, Town­scape raised $150,000 from smaller busi­nesses and in­di­vid­ual do­na­tions to fi­nance the $1.5 mil­lion Gar­rick Theatre restora­tion.

As a re­sult, Bradley seems con­fi­dent when it comes to get­ting the ad­di­tional fund­ing.

“There’s no ques­tion the prov­ince’s fiscal sit­u­a­tion is poor, but we will not be ask­ing the prov­ince to cre­ate new fund­ing for this project. We will be ap­ply­ing to ex­ist­ing pro­grams with both lev­els of govern­ment. In last year’s pro­vin­cial bud­get, the rel­e­vant re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment pro­gram was cut, but not this year. There’s un­der $10 mil­lion in the pro­gram now. That’s for the whole prov­ince but, if the project is deemed to have the mer­its we claim, there’s no rea­son why a cer­tain por­tion of that fund couldn’t be al­lo­cated to this project.”

He says they’re also seek­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment fund­ing from the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency (ACOA) and the max­i­mum avail­able grant from the Her­itage Foun­da­tion of New­found­land and Labrador (HFNL). The Bridge House is on HFNL’s list of reg­is­tered her­itage struc­tures.

Town­scape has al­ready been in con­tact with the agen­cies last fall, and he says while all were in­ter­ested, there were no ini­tial com­mit­ments.

They will be­gin the pro­posal writ­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion process later this spring.

And, as far as a time­line for ap­proval to be­gin work on the Bridge House, Bradley says they are some­what wor­ried about how long it may take.

“That’s the ques­tion that most con­cerns us,” said Bradley. “It took two years to get Camp­bell Street ap­proved, de­spite the fact that all agreed on the mer­its of the project, and we had our con­tri­bu­tion in place. Those with good mem­o­ries will also re­call that find­ing ap­proval for the Gar­rick was a three-year strug­gle that ended only af­ter 1,500 sup­port­ers got be­hind the ini­tia­tive with a spir­ited email-let­ter cam­paign.”

How­ever, he says they don’t ex­pect as much of a de­lay this time.

“Every­one rec­og­nizes the sig­nif­i­cance and value of Bridge House, and it makes sense to fin­ish the last phase of har­bour front de­vel­op­ment.”

But if there is a long de­lay, he adds, the pri­vate in­vest­ment may no longer be se­cured.

“We couldn’t ex­pect a small pri­vate com­pany to tie up that much cap­i­tal in­def­i­nitely to sup­port a com­mu­nity project that doesn’t seem as though it will get off the ground.”

Their tar­get is to get ap­proved for fund­ing by fall or win­ter and for con­struc­tion to be­gin in early spring 2018.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.