Jeff Green | Jun 09, 2021

In a web ceremony, Kingston MPP Mark Gerretson (who represents the riding of Kingston and Frontenac Islands), and Renfrew MPP John Yakabuskie (representing the government of Ontario), gathered virtually with the 4 Frontenac County mayors and CAO, Kelly Pender, to announce grants totalling $1,853,000 in support for 4 different projects.

Of that, $1.01 million in funding came from the federal government, and $843,000 came from the Province of Ontario.

The largest project that received support is the Frontenac Arena upgrade project. It has been underway since February and is resulting in a host of upgrades, including a new refrigeration system and a new floor, new boards, new benches, and more.

“This is the most significant capital replacement project since the arena opened in 1976,” said arena manager, Tim Laprade.” “The work scheduled reflects the arena board representing both townships’ continued commitment to investing in the long-term future of the community,” added Laprade.

In 1976, four pre-amalgamation townships; Portland, Bedford, Hinchinbrooke, and Oso, combined forces to build the arena, which was operated by a board with representation from the townships.

In 1998, under municipal amalgamation, South and Central Frontenac took combined ownership of the arena, which is still managed by the Frontenac Arena Board of Directors,

“The Frontenac Community Arena (FCA) submitted a joint application along with the Township of South Frontenac and Central Frontenac, and we are delighted to be a recipient of the grant,” said arena board chair and Central Frontenac Township Councillor Brent Cameron.

“This represents a significant investment into the ice making foundation of the arena. More importantly, it allows us to guarantee our community - and our arena family – a reliable facility for decades to come,” added Cameron.

The FCA will be receiving almost $1 million in combined federal provincial funding ($985,371) towards the $1.34 million project. The project was already underway and the two townships involved had already made commitments to fund the project.

In his remarks during the announcement, South Frontenac Mayor (and current Frontenac County Warden), Ron Vandewa, made the point that the funding from upper levels of government will have a direct impact on tax rates for municipal ratepayers.

“This kind of funding allows us to fund projects that we need to undertake without having to either raise taxes or defer other necessary projects,” he said. “I would like to thank the staff involved with having the foresight to go after additional funding sources and ultimately submitted a persuasive and successful grant application.”

The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) is a cost-shared infrastructure funding program between the federal government, provinces and territories, and municipalities and other recipients. This program provides federal, provincial and other partner funding, The Community, Culture and Recreation stream, which is one of 4 in the program, supports community infrastructure priorities across the province, improving access to and / or quality of community, cultural, and recreation priority infrastructure projects.

The second largest grant went to Frontenac County.

“The Frontenac K&P Trail will be improved by upgrading accessibility to the Verona Trailhead major access point and other minor access points, and by removing barriers at other minor access points. Work also includes improving road cross safety features, constructing rest areas, installing park benches, shelters, and trail counters, and other upgrades, to meet the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act requirements,” said the media release accompanying the announcement.

Federal and provincial funding for the project totals almost $600,000 ($331,200 in federal funding and $275,972 in provincial funding). Frontenac County will invest a further $220,000 in the $825,000 project.

The K&P Trail is the largest piece of tourism infrastructure in Frontenac County. It currently runs through South and Central Frontenac, and Frontenac County has undertaken to build out the trail through North Frontenac to Renfrew to join a network of trails in that jurisdiction.

On Howe Island, over $200,000 in ICIP funding, as well as $65,000 in municipal funding and almost $15,000 in donations, will go to upgrades to Norris Community Park. The money will go towards renovations, including: installing an accessible washroom, constructing multi-use tennis courts, and improving playground equipment by installing a safety base underneath. In addition, a shelter/pavilion for picnic tables and music/cultural events will be constructed, an electronic scoreboard for the baseball field will be installed, and upgrading the park fencing will help complete the project.

“This will make a big difference to an important Howe Island asset, which was named for Patrick Norris. He was the Reeve before amalgamation and served on Frontenac Islands Council after amalgamation, before he retired,” said Frontenac Islands Mayor Dennis Doyle. “This is an important commitment to a small township like ours.

The smallest project is to the Snow Road Community Hall in North Frontenac, which will receive 44,400 in ICIP funding, supplemented by $11,000 from the township and $5,000 in donations, to construct an accessible addition to the existing washrooms at the hall.

“This might seem like a small project but it is not small for us. It is important and helps our township and the many activities that take place, in the Snow Road Hall, every day of the week,” said North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins.

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