The Town of Kensington and the municipality of Malpeque are teaming up to tackle a project which might otherwise have stayed on the proverbial backburner.
The two community councils have worked out a deal where Malpeque would give some of its federal gas tax funding allotment to the town, to pave a parking lot at the Kensington Seniors' Centre, adjacent to Credit Union Centre. The project is expected to cost $25,410, plus HST, which is the amount Malpeque has agreed to transfer.
Leadership in both communities acknowledge the arrangement is somewhat unusual, it’s uncommon for one municipality to help build infrastructure in another, but they have concluded the deal is in the best interest of residents in both areas.
Malpeque Mayor Paul Brown said his community is entitled to money from the gas tax based on its population and it is supposed to be spent on specific kinds of infrastructure projects.
However, Malpeque has no tangible infrastructure of its own.
The council issued a call for proposals on potential local projects, but none of those received met the requirements of the fund. With the deadline for funding approvals approaching, they started exploring other options.
“We said, as a municipality, ‘what are we allowed to do?’ Our chief administrative officer did some checking, and she said we can actually piggy-back (a project) with another municipality if it’s a community initiative that benefits our residents," said. Brown.
"So, based on that we sat down with Kensington.”
The two groups decided on the parking lot pavement project because it is something Kensington had previously deffered in favour of more pressing budget priorities.
“We’re very pleased that Malpeque approached us,” said Geoff Baker, Kensington’s chief administrative officer.
“We have a strong recognition here of the mutually beneficial relationship between Kensington and its surrounding area and surrounding communities. We’re always up for discussion around how we move forward and how we improve quality of life for all residents in our region.”
The project has already been approved by the Malpeque community council.
Kensington’s committee of council has recommended that it be approved, but a second vote by the full council is required before it can proceed.
Dianne Doucette, president of the Kensington Senior Surfers, the group that manages the seniors' centre, said she is hopeful it will pass.
She welcomed news of the joint venture between communities and is hopeful it will be finalized.
The parking lot in question currently has issues with water pooling and freezes in the winter. Even when it is dry, it is uneven and rough, all of which can be hazards for seniors with mobility issues.
Paving it will hopefully increase safety, said Doucette.
“I think that would be wonderful ... It certainly would be a benefit for our group and any other group that is using (the building) during the winter," she said.
“Right now we have close to 30 members and they come from Malpeque, Darnley, New London, Kelvin Grove – all around; not just Kensington alone.”