Port Hardy’s much anticipated multiplex project is still on hold, with no signs of provincial and federal money coming in just yet.
Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas sat down with the North Island Gazette to give a quick update on the project, noting the district has “put in grant applications at the end of January of this year, and they said we will tentatively hear in September of this year.”
Dugas pointed out that due to the federal election coming up in October, “there might be some hold up with regards to that.”
He added North Island MLA Claire Trevena and North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney have both been “very supportive — they’re all on board because they can see the importance of it in our community, but it’s also out of their hands, basically.”
Dugas said that personally for him, he would love to see the project go ahead. “We’ve all been very positive about the multiplex, we know that it’s going to bring an amenity to our community that’s really important, not only for retention of people that live in our area, but also for attracting people to move here to the true North Island… It all comes down to whether we get the grant funding or not and hopefully get other stakeholders involved to help pay off the debt.”
Quick facts about the multiplex project:
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 governments and key stakeholders all over the Regional District of Mount Waddington. To date, Port Hardy has six million from the Strategic Priorities Fund, six million borrowed from Port Hardy taxpayers, $430,060 in reserves, $250,000 donated from Mowi, and an annual payment of $50,000 from the Regional District of Mount Waddington (which the district has to apply for every year for 30 years to get the full one million dollars). Thanks to the tender bids coming in so high, the budget for the project ballooned to $22.4 million.