There have been lots of announcements about the federal stimulus funding that's supposed to push the economy back on track. Toronto is getting a long list of projects covered, including lots of money for public transit. But there are smaller projects too.
Ottawa grants Toronto $200M for infrastructure, September 11, 2009.
Many of the smaller Toronto stimulus funding projects are water pipes that need replacing or laneways that need repaving. But some of the funding is being used to do "state of good repair" projects in parks. One of these projects is the repair of the MacGregor Park Field house, on Lansdowne Avenue near College street.
Nobody (including City Councillor Adam Giambrone) seems to have heard about this project until one of the wading pool staff mentioned that six people with clipboards had come to look at the building in August. One of them told the staff that the building would be getting new doors and windows as part of a citywide repair project. That sounded strange, because the field house has lots of things that need fixing, and for the users, doors and windows were pretty far down the line.
It turns out that the stimulus fund is a three-way pact:
The Government of Canada has announced the creation of a new $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, aimed at getting shovels in the ground for infrastructure projects across Canada over the next two years....These funds are focused on the rehabilitation of existing assets, but new construction is eligible, provided it can be fully completed by March 31, 2011, and it represents an incremental investment on the part of the municipality.
The Infrastructure Stimulus Fund works by having the federal and provincial governments match municipal contributions towards infrastructure projects on an equal basis. All parties share one-third of the total eligible project cost. This funding will help create jobs and provide much-needed stimulus to the economy. It will also help municipal governments meet their varied and growing infrastructure needs.
Ontario Infrastructure Projects in Toronto, October 23, 2009.
And another version, approved at City Council, Sept.23 2009: the staff report
Councillor Giambrone's assistant, Chris Gallop, made an inquiry to the Parks, Forestry, and Recreation Capital Projects section. He learned that the manager, Michael Schreiner, made applications to the Stimulus Fund and was able to get $134,200 approved for "state of good repair" measures for the MacGregor Park fieldhouse. Apparently these measures are based on an external audit carried out in 2005. A consultant often used by the City, called Accent Building Sciences, did a citywide Parks and Recreation "Facility Audit" for $803,000.