Township wants province to change criteria for infrastructure funding

Huron-Kinloss Township council briefs
Section: 
News

By Barb McKay

 

Municipalities are finding themselves in a catch-22 position when it comes to seeking upper tier government funding.

During its meeting last Monday, Huron-Kinloss council agreed to support a resolution from the Town of Carleton Place calling on the provincial government to change the way it evaluates applications from municipalities for infrastructure funding. Currently, applications for the Small Communities Fund and Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund are evaluated based on the economic conditions of the municipalities applying. Both Huron-Kinloss and the Municipality of Kincardine have been turned down for funding in the past year because they are considered to be in good financial shape.

 

“Because we have been taxing and putting money away for projects we get penalized,” councillor Jim Hanna said.

 

“One of the problems is that we have healthy reserves,” mayor Mitch Twolan added, “but I don’t think we should go and spend all of our reserves for the chance of maybe getting some funding.”

 

Township treasurer Jodi MacArthur said the governments are trying to deal with some of the most pressing infrastructure needs; projects that would take years for municipalities to save up for without government funding. She said she expects there will be more opportunities for municipalities with better financial situations in the future.

*The township will receive some federal funding to upgrade the Whitechurch water system.

 

Huron-Kinloss’s application for a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) for the project was successful. Through the program the federal government will cover one-third of the cost of the project, which includes rehabilitation of the water system, road reconstruction and sidewalk replacement. The government will kick in $190,000 of the $570,000 estimated total. The project will also be funded with user water rates.

 

*Council has put its support behind a resolution from the Town of Wainfleet asking the provincial government to cancel its request for proposal process for additional wind energy generation contracts.

 

In its resolution, Wainfleet points out that the province is currently generating a surplus of energy and there is no need to consider new projects at this time. The Municipality of Kincardine council has also agreed to support the resolution.

 

*A proposal by a county in Wisconsin to divert water from Lake Michigan has Huron-Kinloss mayor Mitch Twolan concerned.

 

Twolan, who is also chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, asked council during its meeting last Monday to support a resolution from the Initiative to oppose Waukesha County’s plan to divert water from the lake for its own use and to sell it to other municipalities.

 

“The concern is that this could be precedent-setting,” Twolan said, noting that if such an endeavour could happen in Michigan it could happen with Lake Huron.

 

Council agreed to support the resolution.