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Ball diamond improvements top Wellesley’s list for Canada 150 grants

Wellesley council chose improvements to ball diamonds one and two in St. Clements and Wellesley’s upper and lower ball diamonds as their top priority when staff submits funding applications for 50 per cent of the cost to the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Project.

Municipalities have been encouraged to submit multiple applications and indicate their top three priorities. This is the second intake for the project, with up to $44.4 million available for projects in southern Ontario this time around. FedDev Ontario received more than 1,100 applications, requesting more than $260 million in funding in the first intake.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind the likelihood of success has to be a pretty important criteria for the prioritization process. I was told quite emphatically that roadwork, especially this type of roadwork, will have little or no possibility for success,” Mayor Joe Nowak advised the councillors before they each listed their top three.

Council voted on Tuesday night for the ball diamonds as number one. Their second priority they’re asking for funding for is the LED street light conversion project, and improvements to the existing trails in the township is the third priority.

They also considered applying for 33.3 per cent of the cost of the rehabilitation of Manser Road from Streicher Line to Waterloo Regional Road 7, but decided against it after speaking with other municipalities who said they’d found more success in applying for funds for recreation rather than public works projects. The improvements would have included rebuilding the base portion of the road where required and paving the surface at an approximate cost of $1,314,000, with funds from OCIF and the gas tax used to offset the township’s portion of the cost.

The proposed improvements to the ball fields include replacing the stone dust surfaces on the infields and warning tracks with sport clay ($119,800) and installing an electric score board at each location ($67,055).

Nowak noted the township already has a track record of bringing in good tournaments to the baseball diamonds and they’ve been able to secure funding for them in the past.

“Economic development is a big priority for this [federal] government, so if we use the argument that this could be an economic driver for our community, we can attract more high-level players and more tournaments … to me we would have a good opportunity to succeed,” Nowak said.

The LED street light conversion project would include the removal and replacement of 545 street light fixtures with LED bulbs at an estimated cost of $300,000, minus an IESO Incentive of about $30,000.

Staff have proposed adding asphalt to the remaining trails in park area at the Wellesley Community Centre for $36,580.

“The trails system I think is an interesting one to consider because we already have some funding for that project through the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, and I was told projects where you already have funding they look upon those projects very favourably as well,” Nowak said.

All three projects are “shovel ready.”

If successful with the grant applications, the township will have to fund the difference between the successful project or projects and the amount of the grant. The applications are due this Friday.

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