Feds Invest $1.7 Million for West End Rec Centre Upgrades and Trails

Along with the usual morning swimmers, people hitting the workout room and patrons visiting the west end branch of the Guelph Public Library, there was a group of people at the West End Community Centre Wednesday for a political announcement. It was about money, about $1.7 million to be nearly precise, and the recipient was the HVAC system on the roof of the centre, and some wayfinding signs to be named later.

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield, on behalf of Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Dominic LeBlanc, announced that the Government of Canada will be giving $1.6 million to modernize the HVAC system at the West End Community Centre. This work has been underway since last summer, and the finished project will result in reducing the building’s energy consumption by 54.6 per cent, or 740 tonnes of greenhouse gas, annually.

“Guelph is on a path for net zero and the Government of Canada is also on a path to net zero. So we’re travelling the same path, and we are working to get there together,” said Longfield. “So we’re looking at how we can cut pollution, fight climate change and make a better future for generations to come. People that are in swimming lessons today will be the lifeguards tomorrow, and then they’ll be out in the community doing other things.”

The money is coming from the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program, and comes with a contribution from the City of nearly $478,000. Although the funding was announced on Wednesday, the work at the West End Community Centre is nearly completed, so essentially the Federal government funds are covering the cost of work already done. A ripe opportunity for re-investment according to Mayor Cam Guthrie.

“We’re winning on the environment side of this announcement today, and we’re winning on the financial side, so this is truly a win-win,” Guthrie said. “When we’re getting this money together for these types of projects, it’s fantastic for the environment, and we should celebrate that, but we’re also saving money, and this is part of making sure that we’re running efficiently, and using taxpayers dollars properly, so the financial piece is not something we should lose as well.”

Longfield also announced $50,000 through the Active Transportation fund for the development of a wayfinding strategy for Guelph’s trails and active transportation network. This money is in addition to funds already allocated by the City, and will produce recommendations that will inform the 2024-2027 multiyear budget later this year.

“We have a project to create more consistent and continuous wayfinding systems, so it’ll make it safer and easier to use Guelph’s trails, sidewalks, paths, transportation, and recreation,” Longfield said. “Active transportation is vital to our economy and tourism sectors, and it provides alternative modes of transportation. I’m still riding my bike on the streets, and I know there’s trails I should be using, or could be using, so I have to get into a different habit.”

“This will give people a better way – no pun intended – of finding – no pun intended – their way around, whether they’re navigating Guelph’s trails or sidewalks, and whether they’re using a scooter or walking or hiking or using accessible devices,” Guthrie added. “It doesn’t matter what it is, this project will help them find a way to maybe make a different choice in their daily routine, or use active transportation options, and this wayfinding will enable them to get around the city a lot better.”

See the full video of the announcement below:

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