Big Lakes County has denied a request from a Joussard community organization for emergency funding to dredge a local harbour

At its regular meeting June 14, council turned down a request from the Joussard Community Association for $40,000 in emergency funding to assist with the cost to dredge the Mission Creek Harbour.

The request does not comply with the council’s policy for emergency capital grant funding, said Dave Reynolds, director of corporate services.

“This is not owned by the County,” Gilwood North – Triangle Councillor Jim Zaboltniuk added.

“It doesn’t fit our policy.”

Reynolds said the Government of Canada owns the harbour, managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

The Joussard Harbour Authority began dredging the harbour in mid-March 2023 and midway through the project realized that the costs were over and above the funding capacity of the JHA, Reynolds wrote in his report.

“After approaching the JCA, to assist with the remaining costs to complete the project, the JCA agreed to contribute up to but not exceed $80,000,” Reynolds said.

“The JCA confirms the project is now completed, with the JHA paying $105,000 and the JCA paying the balance of $69,397.13.”

Joussard Councillor Richard Mifflin told council the DFO authorized the JHA to dredge the harbour but provided no funding.

However, the pot for emergency funding is dry.

“There is no emergency capital grant funding included in the 2023 budget for this project,” Reynolds said.

“Any approved funding would be a considered a budget overage.”

The harbour has been a community harbour for many years, JCA president Lorene Rose wrote in a letter to council dated March 20.

“Unfortunately, this harbour and boat launch have silted in and have become unusable,” Rose wrote.

“This has led to some camping cancellations in the community.

“The JCA is asking if Big Lakes County has any tourism dollars or grants to help with this long-overdue endea- vour,” Rose wrote.

“We believe this investment will be beneficial to not only the community of Joussard, but to Big Lakes County as well.”

The grants policy states council may fund up to 50 per cent of the total project costs.

In the case of emergency capital grant projects, a community organization may submit a grant application or request for payment, prior to the project completion. Applications are individually reviewed by council for approval.

Organizations must be able to show the project needs are emergent, provide proof the situation poses an immediate risk to health, life, property or the environment if the project is not completed.

by Richard Froese

This item copyrighted by / South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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