Gaming fund interest to bankroll $1.37M in projects

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Eight projects are being proposed under a new city policy that allows one-off operational costs to be funded by the interest on Burnaby's gaming reserves.

Burnaby receives 10 per cent of net revenues from the Grand Villa Casino, roughly $10 million a year. City hall has largely restricted its use of the money to capital projects and not operations due to it not being a secure source of ongoing funding.

Late last year, a new policy was adopted that allows the interest on the fund, $2 million to $3 million a year, to be used for one-time operating costs.

On Monday, council was to consider approving almost $1.37 million in projects using that money, including $400,000 to reduce the backlog of requests for pruning of city boulevard trees, said a city staff report.

Another $125,000 would be used for the cleanup of city-owned vacant lots and laneways, including removal of invasive species and litter, and construction of berms or fencing to prevent illegal dumping.

Eagle Creek Restaurant at Burnaby Mountain Golf Course would receive $250,000 to start conversion of the pub to a "more flexible food service design," including interior renovations, equipment and furniture purchases, and kitchen upgrades.

Weed growth between curbs and sidewalks would be removed in town centre areas with the help of $100,000. Another $100,000 would be spent to hire students for bush cleaning, landscaping and seeding of about a dozen overgrown locations such as the Highland walkway along Beresford Street and sections of Confederation Park.

The first phase of a project to replace the 1970s fencing around city pitch-and-putt courses would start with $140,000 in gaming fund interest.

Student workers would also be hired to remove invasive species at locations such as  Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area and Deer Lake Park, and $50,000 would be spent on projects to improve accessibility at city parks, starting with Confederation and Fraser Foreshore parks.

Last month, more than $595,000 in interest money was approved for use in several projects, including cleaning and improvements to four pedestrian bridges, ditch and watercourse maintenance, boulevard and median improvements, and the purchase of outdoor event equipment and a temporary mass decontamination shelter.

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