With the end of 2019 just around the corner, many residents of Port Hardy have been asking about the status of the much anticipated multiplex project.
The multiplex was last in the news back in February, when the District of Port Hardy held an open house event at the Civic Centre to bring people up to speed on what was happening with the funding.
At the open house, Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas and his councillors stated they needed more capital from additional grant funding to make the project become a reality.
The district had previously budgeted $12.6 million dollars to build a smaller-sized version of the project, but thanks to tender bids coming in 40 per cent higher than anticipated, they were forced to go looking for more capital from the provincial government (the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation grant) as the project’s budget had ballooned up to $22.4 million.
Since then, Dugas says not a lot has changed as they are still waiting to see if the money will be coming in or not. “The last time our staff talked to the people down at UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) who are involved with the process, they said they were hoping we would hear something by the end of this year, but it’s now looking like that’s not the case — I think at this particular time, unless something happens in the next few days, we won’t hear anything until January or maybe February.”
Dugas said there were a lot of applications put in from different places that are all hoping to get grant funding, which is basically why it is taking so long. He added that at this point he would like to be optimistic about receiving the money, but because of the delays that have been going on for so long and all the people who have put in applications for the grant funding, “right now I’m thinking it’s a 50/50 shot. I don’t know which way it’s going to go, it could go either way.”
Dugas said that regardless of whether the district gets the funding or not, there will always be a swimming pool in Port Hardy. “We either build a new one or we fix the old – our plan has always been to keep providing this amenity to our community, and that is still our goal.”