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Richmond to receive $2.23m to fund new arts and culture centre

A total of $137m in federal-provincial funding will be available for “dozens” of similar projects around the province
Nathan Cullen-nbennett
B.C. Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen at a press conference in Richmond April 11, 2022

Federal, provincial and municipal politicians were in Richmond today announcing one of dozens of community infrastructure grants worth more than $130 million for a variety of community projects, from new swimming pools and artificial turf fields to arts and culture centres in cities, towns and First Nations communities throughout B.C.

“We have dozens and dozens of projects that are being publicly announced today, totalling well over $130 million in public investment in our communities,” B.C. Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen said at a press conference in Richmond Monday.

Richmond is getting $2.23 million in joint federal and provincial funding to “repurpose” its old Minoru Seniors Centre into an annex for the city’s arts and culture centre: $133,000 federal and $2.1 million provincial.

When Richmond’s new Minoru Centre for Active Living was built, the plan was to demolish the city’s old swimming pool and Minoru Seniors Centre. 

The pool was demolished, but Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said there was still 10 to 20 years of life left in the old seniors centre building.  And since the arts and culture centre right next door – which houses the city’s main library and art museum -- was running out of room, the city decided to seek senior government funding to help the city to repurpose the seniors centre for its arts and culture program.

“We wanted to repurpose it because the arts programs in the cultural centre are bursting at the seams,” Brodie said. “You’ve got 16,000, 17,000 square feet in the old seniors centre, and the grant we’re getting today is going towards the repurposing of it.”

The total project is budgeted at $3.3 million, of which the federal and provincial governments are covering $2.23 million. The new arts and culture annex will include dance, pottery and arts studios.

The old seniors centre is currently being used as a temporary homeless shelter. Homeless people using it now will be relocated to other homeless shelter facilities in Richmond, when the old seniors centre is refurbished.

The federal and provincial governments are investing $137 million in 57 communities in recreational and green infrastructure in B.C., federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray said on behalf of the ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

“More than half of these investments are in community and rec infrastructure,” she said. “Another 22 projects will improve rural and northern neighbourhoods through community centres, gardens, museums and playgrounds.”

Some of the other projects being funded through the joint federal-provincial community infrastructure grant program include a new aquatic centre in the District of Kent (Agassiz) and a new community centre in Anmore.

A number of First Nations communities are receiving grants of $3 million to $4 million each, with the funding coming from the federal government only. 

Most of those grants are for new community recreation and-or cultural centres, with the Kitselas First Nation, McLeod Lake Indian Band, Nadleh Whut'en, and Xeni Gwet'in (Tsilhqot’in) being among the grant recipients.

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