There were seven big cheques and a collection of equally large smiles as Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) Legacy Fund grant presentations for 2022 were made in Sechelt on Aug. 25. On hand to distribute $144,000 to community groups were representatives of the SCCF Board, Legacy Fund committee and staff, as well as representatives of the District of Sechelt, the sole shareholder of SCCF.
Community buildings benefit
Several community buildings will be upgraded with this year’s grants. This includes a $30,000 award for an upgrade to the Egmont Community Hall’s 20-year-old kitchen. The Egmont Community Club received the funding for this project, which will allow that building to continue to function as a social hub for that community and as a satellite food bank location in collaboration with the Pender Harbour Food Bank.
The Gibsons Landing Heritage Society was awarded $21,000 for a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system replacement for the historic Heritage Playhouse. That project also received funding through the Sunshine Coast Community Solar Association as well as Megan and Cody Kelso’s “Elevate for the Environment” campaign. The improvements will reduce operating costs and help renew the lifespan of the facility as well as reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
A 2022 contribution of $27,000 brought the Legacy Fund support for the Roberts Creek Hall restoration over the past years to a total of $174,000. This year’s grant awarded to the area’s community association funded a hall kitchen renovation.
The Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre was another community building receiving additional funds for upgrades. The Legacy Fund chipped in another $15,000 to assist with audio-visual equipment to increase the capacity of this venue to host more events. This grant follows a $100,000 Legacy Fund contribution to renovations at the centre.
Ongoing support appeared as a recurring theme for this year's grants, with the Sunshine Coast Salmonid Enhancement Society being granted an additional $30,000 for its Chapman Creek Hatchery Water Intake project. That group had previously been awarded $90,628 for related work to maintain infrastructure, which supports hatchery stocks and nature-based experiences for the community. The water intake structure required replacement following damage during the “atmospheric river” flooding events of Nov. 2021.
Another past recipient receiving a 2022 grant was the Davis Bay Wilson Creek Selma Park Community Association. This year, the group was awarded $10,000 for renewal of the Whitaker Park Play Space.
“The Community Association has a long history of creating and maintaining neighbourhood green-spaces and gather places, and sought funding to refurbish the existing 30 year old play area at Whitaker Park which is well used by the community at large as well as the Teddy Bear Daycare clients. Modern knowledge of inclusiveness will allow this project to be completed in a way that removes barriers and considers multiple uses to improve accessibility and usability of the space,” an Aug. 29 SCCF press release reads.
The release also detailed that the Legacy Fund has provided over $3.9 million to community projects since it was created in 2014.
A new initiative
A grant of $11,000 was provided to Salish Sea Regenerative Farm Society. This new society and first-time Legacy Fund recipient is looking to mitigate climate change and increase local food production through regenerative farming methods. The grant will be used for equipment to help transform an area of degraded land under BC Hydro transmission lines into a demonstration project with the aim of improving local food security.