‘Urgently needed’ repairs to Kelowna Family Y funded by feds, city

Ottawa kicks in $250,000 to help pay to replace a crumbling concrete floor at the popular Rutland recreation centre.

It was all smiles Tuesday after local MP Ron Cannan (left) announced the federal government will provide $250

There may be a ceiling when it comes to the amount of money the federal government will provide municipalities for infrastructure replacement, but that’s not he case with  floor.

Ottawa, through local MP Ron Cannan, is giving the city $250,000 to help rebuild the crumbling concrete floor beneath the women’s changing room at the Kelowna Family Y, a repair that both the city and the Y says is urgently needed.

The floor in the 31-year-old building has cracked in several places and is currently being shored up by a large number of metal brace poles in the boiler room below.

“This (work) is needed quite urgently,” said city buildings manager Kevin Van Vliet. “It’s a structural concern.”

The federal money will be added to $600,000 that the city has already set aside for the work and the new floor is scheduled to take place over four months beginning this spring. During the construction, the facility will remain open to the public.

The work will, however, mean the women’s changing room at the Y will have to be temporarily within the building.

Mayor Walter Gray praised the feds for helping the city maintain one of its infrastructure assets, noting if city buildings are not kept up, they cease being of any use to the community.

“Maintaining public assets is very much a priority in Kelowna,” said Gray.

But he noted that the cost of maintaining infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and buildings, is often to much for taxpayers to bear alone and that’s why the federal and provincial governments are often asked to help out.

Gray made no apologies for asking for federal money, noting his city’s residents pay taxes to Ottawa and they expect to see some of that money returned to help pay for infrastructure.

The Family Y building in Rutland is owned by the city and operated under contract by the YM-YWCA. The recreation centre includes a pool, excercise equipment, and rooms where recreation programs are provided for both adults and children.

Cannan agreed with Gray about the need for federal funding here, noting that there is “only one tax payer,” and part of the federal Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund ‘s mandate is to help pay for repairs to aging infrastructure in municipalities  across the county.

The existing fund’s mandate expires at the end of March 2014 and negotiations are already underway with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities about how the next round of funding should look, said the Kelowna-Lace Country MP.