The District of Sechelt will soon issue a request for proposals to rebuild the Davis Bay Wharf, hopeful that the remaining funds needed will be found before the summer.
“This is about lighting the fuse, which is the appropriate action in my opinion,” Sechelt Mayor John Henderson said at the Feb. 5 council meeting, where the issue was discussed. “Then we still have to discuss the funding.”
To date, the $600,000 wharf restoration project has received $418,000 of funding. That money has been raised through a $150,000 grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), a $100,000 grant from the District of Sechelt and gifts of $168,000 from the community.
The project needs another $182,000 before it can get underway.
“I think the concerns for our committee that I’d like to express tonight is that time is running away to have this project up and completed for this summer, and I know that this council, when you were elected, your number one priority in fact was to construct the Davis Bay wharf upgrade,” said Greg Giles, a member of the wharf’s major gifts committee.
“Time’s getting away. Here we are at the end of February and the ICET funding with the conditions on that … project implementation must begin no later than June 30 and be completed by December 31. In order for that to happen, we have an application in with the Sunshine Coast Community Forest for $150,000.”
Giles said the $150,000 from the Community Forest is “essential.”
“It would leave a balance of another $32,000, which the committee that I’m involved with, we give an undertaking that we will leave no stone unturned to make sure that we raise that particular shortfall,” he said.
Council was supportive of the project, but couldn’t commit to a grant of $150,000 from the Sunshine Coast Community Forest as they recently set up a legacy fund that requests must go through.
“I know we’re putting a lot of pressure on the Community Forest to fund a lot of stuff, but I don’t know where else we’ll get the money,” Coun. Chris Moore noted. “I’m obviously in support of this and I want to see it move forward this year. I don’t want to see this be dragged over until next year. I don’t think the appetite’s out there and I’ll do as much as I can from this end.”
Council unanimously supported sending out a request for proposals to secure a builder for the new wharf and encouraged the community group fundraising for the wharf to keep at it.
“We do have some work ahead of us, all of us. I’m not sure that we can rely on $150,000 from any one donor, so don’t take your foot off the gas in terms of reach to the public. And hopefully this step will help people realize that it is going to happen and want to step up and help us make this a reality for the summer,” Henderson said.