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Revitalization funding coming to One Tiny Farm and Inlet Avenue

MP Patrick Weiler hosted three federal funding announcements on the lower Sunshine Coast last week, the latest of which will see accessibility improvements in Sechelt and Roberts Creek 
Patrick Weiler One Straw Announcement
On July 22, MP Patrick Weiler, Sechelt mayor Darnelda Siegers and One Straw's Cassandra Fletcher announced new funding for several local initiatives.

At the tail end of several funding announcements on the lower Sunshine Coast last week, MP Patrick Weiler had two more investments to announce: One for the District of Sechelt and another for the One Straw Society’s One Tiny Farm. 

On Friday, July 22, Weiler was joined by Sechelt mayor Darnelda Siegers, One Straw’s Cassandra Fletcher and a small gathering at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt. On behalf of the Minister of International Development Harjit S. Sajjan (who is responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada), Weiler announced $761,300 from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund. 

“Shared public spaces are at the heart of communities, right across Canada. They bring together people of all ages and abilities, supporting businesses and supporting local economies. Here on the Sunshine Coast, like so many places right across the country, we know how important public spaces are to building thriving communities that put people first,” Weiler said.  “The last two and a half years of COVID have made it especially clear how important outdoor community spaces are to the physical and mental health of our communities.” 

Of that total, $717,000 will help upgrade Inlet Avenue, “in the heart of downtown Sechelt,” with a new road and sidewalk (including tactile landing pads for people with visual impairments), improved nighttime lighting, added parking, amenities and upgraded electrical infrastructure. The work is intended to improve accessibility and “provide a much-needed revitalization to the area,” Weiler said. 

Siegers noted the essential services located on Inlet Avenue, including the post office and a large medical clinic, as she expressed her gratitude for the funding. The revitalization funds will cover “almost 100 per cent” of the cost of upgrades and the remaining 30 per cent will be covered by the District of Sechelt, she said. Wider sidewalks will go down both sides of the avenue, with slopes designed for people of different mobility abilities. Improved traffic calming and parking, among other changes, will “ensure this is a safe space for our residents to traverse,” Siegers said.

“In addition to creating jobs for the local community, these upgrades will make Inlet Avenue a nice place, not only for surrounding business, but for the town as a whole” and bring together renovations and transportation infrastructure, Weiler said. 

One Tiny Farm in Roberts Creek will see $44,300 to redesign and expand the community garden. Fletcher, the executive director of One Straw Society, shared a tiny history of One Tiny Farm. What is now a garden and community gathering space where people break ground and grow food was previously abandoned for the most part. As the pandemic hit, food security was a big risk. Now, One Tiny Farm is introducing solar power to the property, which will generate lighting for new accessible walkways and charge the equipment at the new tool library. A barn shed will be built and the old gazebo restored. In doing so, One Tiny Farm hopes to attract visitors, local artists, farmers and businesses for community events, educational experiences and public awareness of sustainable food production, Weiler added.

Weiler toured One Tiny Farm with Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau on May 24 during the minister’s first-ever visit to the Sunshine Coast

The fund these investments come from was started in June 2021, and will contribute $500 million to Canada’s regional development agencies over two years. Weiler said the fund is “meant to support [public] places to make them more welcoming to people once it was safe to do that, and make it more accessible to people as well.

“These two projects are going to have a huge impact right throughout the Sunshine Coast communities, contribute to the culture, the economies and inclusivity,” Weiler added. “And it will really strengthen the fabric on the Sunshine Coast.”