The next stop in Lake Country’s downtown Nexus community centre is underway with the official shovel ceremony to mark the beginning of construction.
The federal government, according to MP Stephen Fuhr, is adding $575,000 to the financial pool, on top of the $5 million allocated previously, courtesy of the federal gas tax fund.
“The federal share is close to 80 per cent,” said Fuhr.
“The feds recognize the value in investing in communities and they’re really trying to help out at the municipal level where it’s tough for municipalities to do all this work with the tax base they have.”
The two-storey multi-generational activity centre will spread across of 7,000 square feet of land, have daycare facilities, tech lab, art studio, kitchen and more and will be occupied by the Lake Country Okanagan Boys and Girls Club.
The Boys and Girls club has been offering their services in Lake Country for around 25 years and director of operations Jeremy Welder said he’s excited to have a new building as home base for operations.
“The building, for us, is going to allow us to not only maintain the level of service that we have but expand.”
Being next door neighbours with a seniors’ home as well as the food bank, the club will work closely with both institutions, making it easier to run services and create the community atmosphere.
Last summer, the food bank received 10,000 pounds of fresh peaches, said food bank manager Joy Haxton, but they couldn’t provide any to schools because they were closed and transportation options were limited.
Now, she said, pulling tangible examples of how the two organizations can work together, perishables that need immediate use can go right next door and avoid being wasted.
“We were partners in the old school; it’ll be incredible to have new facilities here.
“I think that for a lot of our clients, being around children, being around the community, that sort of inclusion is really healthy for them because a lot of those people feel isolated.”
As a licenced daycare and more, the Boys and Girls club offers programs such as bus pickups for children who can’t go home when school finishes. They will look after an estimated 80 kids once the building is up and running.
Construction, according to Welder, is expected to finish in July 2020.
The turning-of-the-sod comes a day after the ceremonies for the Glenmore booster station and the Eldorado treated water reservoir, and three days after the ribbon-cutting on the Pelmewash Parkway; three projects in which federal and/or provincial government have had financial participation.
“My goal (is) just to deliver for my constituents,” said Fuhr, who helped lock down 50 per cent of the funding for the reservoirs.
“It’s a great example of the federal government supporting communities. Municipalities can’t do it on their own.”
Mayor James Baker attended Wednesday’s event along with Couns. Blair Ireland and Todd McKenzie.
“Lake Country has been particularly good at gobbling up provincial and federal grants and that’s really a testament to mayor’s council and the city staff,” said Fuhr.
“I think pound-for-pound, they probably do better than anybody else in the province.”