Medicine Hat News


– Province OKs local COVID relief list

- COLLIN GALLANT cgallant@medicineha­ Twitter: Collin Gallant

A list of constructi­on projects in Medicine Hat worth a combined $7.5 million has been approved by the province under a municipal stimulus project meant to bolster economic activity during a COVID-induced slowdown.

In October, the city released its list of projects to put towards the Municipal Stimulus Program offered by the province and paid for partially with federal funds in a “restart agreement.”

Medicine Hat’s share of the $606-million provincewi­de program is $7.52 million based on a per-capita formula.

Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston told the News earlier this week that the projects would “be a big positive in Medicine Hat for 2021.”

Both MLAs from the Medicine Hat region were quoted in the city’s press release saying the funds would help bolster economic activity, help municipali­ties and strengthen communitie­s.

Constructi­on must be completed but the end of next year, and has the caveat that they can not add to operationa­l budgets.

With grant approval the city will now move ahead with a $2-million remake of the parking lot at 603 First St. The goal is to make it suitable for use as festival space after the city has long had trouble selling the former car dealership location for redevelopm­ent.

Another $2 million would go toward creating a 20-court pickleball facility that the city hopes will be run by a local community organizati­on. No final location has been released.

Gas City Campground would see $1.32 million in constructi­on, including the addition of comfort cabins, a project that is currently out for tender.

Another $1.7 million would be spent on extensions and improvemen­ts to the city’s heritage trail system. Upgrades to the trail to Echo Dale Regional Park would be completed, and new trail added between downtown at the intersecti­on of S. Railway Street and Kingsway Ave.

A further $500,000 is dedicated to work at the club-run BMX track.

The new projects are in addition to planned municipal constructi­on budget of about $26 million in 2021 for road and infrastruc­ture work and other projects.

The city is also applying to the federal government under a separate program to reallocate money previously approved for public transit improvemen­ts.

If successful, the city would invest in upgrades at Athletic Park ($3 million) and other projects, including:

— $2.2 million to add a storey to the city -owned office building at 533 First St., formerly rented to Canada Post;

— $3.3 million for bridge work at various locations;

— A total of $1.28 million in facility repairs, such as roofing and substantia­l repairs at the airport, felt garage, parks building and ventilatio­n work at the Family Leisure Centre;

— About $800,000 would be spent on creating a smartphone app for residents to access all city online services as well as electronic fare payment on buses and a bus dispatch system.

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