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Highlands hall grant deadline looms

Highlands first mayor Bob McMinn is holding up his end of the bargain for the Towns for Tomorrow grant and hopes an unfinished community hall doesn’t hinder him.

McMinn is currently financing the $60,000 to $70,000 museum project. He has been known to invest his own money into various projects at Caleb Pike Heritage Park.

A provincial grant was expected to cover about $400,000 of the proposed community hall and the museum.

From the grant $30,000 was allotted to help reimburse McMinn for his contribution to the project.

“I hope it all goes through so I get the $30,000 back,” McMinn said. He expects the museum will be complete by the end of March.

The $400,000 Towns for Tomorrow grant was awarded in 2008. When the grant was awarded the district was told both projects would need to be complete by March 31, 3013.

Several issues have stalled the project including deciding the location of the community hall.

Highlands is still waiting for a reply from the province after seeking a deadline extension.

“There have been a number of requests,” said Chris Coates, chief administrative officer. “One would expect a decision would be made very soon.”

The grant expires on March 31 and construction hasn’t commenced.

The district would rather the extension be granted, but is looking into a Plan B.

“Municipal staff has talked to provincial staff and it was suggested if you spent it you can claim it … being complete is not important,” Coates said.  “Spending $500,000 entitles the district to make the claim.”

The $400,000 is expected to cover up to 80 per cent of the cost.

 

“You could really get the ground work done … clearing the area could be done almost immediately,” Coates said.

 

 

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