Two injections of funds from the federal government were announced this week to support projects in Welland. The funds are part of the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative.
More than $10,518 will be invested to help the Welland Public Library lend Wi-Fi hotspots and other information and communication technology devices such as Chromebooks, a press release said. from the office of Niagara Center MP Vance Badawey.
According to the release, a recent survey conducted by the Toronto Public Library found that 68% of seniors and 63% of low-income adults access technology at their local library and have no other access.
Welland Library general manager Julianne Brunet said the funding is being used to purchase 10 Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots to help “keep the community connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This grant will help the library achieve its strategic goal “to invest in technology to support community learning, improve accessibility, and help bridge the digital divide,” Brunet said.
Another $20,000 will help create outdoor space for meetings, shows and group activities, the transformation of a planned pavilion at the new Welland Rotary Park next to the skatepark and the boat rental program recently remodeled from the city.
It will create a secure, outdoor and covered meeting area with a presenter’s area, lighting, electricity and Wi-Fi access. The space can be reserved free of charge by non-profit and community groups through the city’s recreation and culture department.
The meeting area will be fully accessible and “provide digital solutions for groups who may not have access to areas to meet as a group with internet access,” the statement said.
Badawey said the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative supports projects across the country that build more inclusive communities and ensure a better quality of life for Canadians.
“Investing in equitable access to technology at the Welland Public Library and continuing to partner with the city to improve the vibrancy and accessibility of Rotary Park are essential to strengthening our community and ensuring its resilience today and for years to come,” he said.
Mayor Frank Campion is also pleased with the federal government’s contributions.
“This investment from our federal partners is another chapter in Welland’s story of growth and commitment to recreation and culture in our community. With this funding, our residents can continue to enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces and amenities of the City of Welland,” he said.