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Growing Communities Fund Allocation Approach

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Growing Communities Fund Allocation Approach

On February 10, 2023, the Province of BC announced the new Growing Communities Fund (GCF), a onetime total of $1 billion in allocated grant funding for all BC municipalities and regional districts. The principal objective of the GCF is to increase the local housing supply with investments in community infrastructure and amenities. The District that North Saanich received a $4,459,000 grant under the GCF.

As a condition of funding, local governments will:

  • have until December 31, 2023 to place the funds in a segregated reserve fund established by bylaw under Section 188 of the Community Charter for the capital and planning purposes of the GCF (note that interest earned must be tracked and allocated back to the Fund and may only be use for eligible GCF purposes);
  • be expected to spend the funds within approximately 5 years of receipt;
  • be required to report annually on how funds are spent via a schedule to the annual audited financial statements showing the amount of funds received, the use of those funds and the year end balance of unused funds.

Additionally, local governments will be required to:

  • report annually on work related to housing needs reports and pre-zoning requirements as applicable; and
  • meet all requirements respecting parameters for public recognition of the funding.

The Province encourages highlighting projects that align with provincial priorities such as CleanBC and childcare, as well as those that align with for capital projects. The funding provided through the GCF should be limited to one-off costs needed to build required infrastructure and amenities rather than funding ongoing or operational activities. These funds are to be incremental to currently planned investments and should accelerate the delivery of capital projects

Eligible projects/costs include:

  • Public drinking water, treatment facilities and water distribution;
  • Local portion of affordable/attainable housing developments;
  • Childcare facilities;
  • Capital projects that service, directly or indirectly, neighbouring First Nation communities;
  • Wastewater conveyance and treatment;
  • Storm water management;
  • Solid waste management infrastructure;
  • Public safety / emergency management equipment and facilities not funded by senior level government;
  • Local road improvements and upgrades;
  • Sidewalks, curbing and lighting;
  • Active transportation amenities not funded by senior level government;
  • Improvements that facilitate transit service;
  • Natural hazard mitigation;
  • Park additions/maintenance/upgrades including washrooms/meeting space and other amenities;
  • Recreation-related amenities.

In September 2023, Council adopted an approach for allocating the Growing Communities Fund which involves allocating 90% of the funding to high priority projects that do not have dedicated funding sources and 10% of funding to new amenities, and engaging the public through the 2024 budget engagement survey.

A high-level assessment criteria be used to assess each proposed project identified through the capital planning process or through public engagement. Assessment criteria will include:

  • Project eligibility
  • Capacity / resourcing
  • Overall community impact
  • Alignment with main Provincial objective for GCF, which is to increase the local housing supply with investments in community infrastructure and amenities; and
  • Alignment with Council’s strategic goals

Staff will apply the assessment criteria outlined above to develop a preliminary project ranking and will present this information to Council during the 2024 budget deliberations.

We want to hear how you would allocate 10% of the Growing Communities Fund to enhance the livability, sustainability and resiliency of the District. Take the budget survey and join us for an Open House on February 27 at Municipal Hall (1620 Mills Road), from 3-6 p.m., to share your feedback. We hope to see you there!

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