Town selects its MEEP funding projects

Christmas came early for the Town of Battleford Tuesday as they received a sizable allocation of money from the province’s Municipal Economic Enhancement Program, allowing them to go ahead with a number of projects this year.

The town’s allocation under that program is roughly $636,000. The provincial program’s focus is to help municipalities with capital projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The main decision for council Tuesday was to give its approval to which projects they would apply for funding under that program. Those the town has selected for MEEP funding include the 35th Street overlay from 2nd Avenue to 24th Street for $284,449.70; sidewalks development on 2nd Avenue between 19th to 21st Street for $90,000; playground for $90,000; industrial drainage project for $27,123.30; a walking pathway extension in Battle Springs for $90,000; and $55,000 for Battleford Arena heat reclamation and LED lighting.

All of these are shovel-ready projects. The 35th Street overlay had already been approved by council for this year, but to stay within the capital budget the work would have only gone as far as around 28th Street. Now, with MEEP funding the town will do the entire overlay down to 24th Street.

Councillors were happy with the funding announcement from the province and looked forward to getting the projects done.

“This was a nice surprise the government shared with us and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Councillor Susan McLean-Tady.

“It’ll give a boost to our local economy and get people back to work,” said Councillor Shelley Boutin-Gervais.

Mayor Ames Leslie said MEEP would cover a lot of projects that tax dollars would generally go through, “which means the taxes collected in the future will help only promote more projects to be completed,” he said. Council unanimously approved the MEEP funding resolution.

On a related note, council also went ahead and awarded the tender for the 35th Street overlay project Tuesday. That contract was awarded to G & C Asphalt for $284,449.70.

That price came in some $115,000 lower than was originally anticipated. Again, councillors were happy that the project is eligible for MEEP funding and that the work will get done to 24th Street.

“It’s a little bit like Christmas,” was McLean-Tady’s reaction.

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