Municipalities receive infrastructure funding

·3 min read

Merrickville-Wolford and North Grenville will be receiving $100,000 each from the province to help support local infrastructure projects.

The funding was announced on Thursday by Municipalities Minister and local MPP Steve Clark and is part of $1.4 million that the province has committed to the municipalities in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand-Islands and Rideau Lakes through Ontario’s new COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream.

“I’m proud that our government continues to deliver on the commitment we made to support our local municipal partners by providing them with the resources they need to build and repair roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems,” said Minister Clark. “This critical infrastructure is not only necessary to ensure our communities remain great places to live, it helps us attract new investment and create jobs as our economy continues to recover from COVID-19.”

Merrickville-Wolford Mayor Doug Struthers says this significant influx of funds is great news for the municipality, which already has a list of possible infrastructure projects that the funding could help with. “[The funding] is extremely important for a municipality like Merrickville-Wolford. We all have aging infrastructure,” Mayor Struthers says. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity for us to expedite some of them.” One such project is addressing groundwater infiltration into the water/wastewater system, which will help them free up capacity. “It will have an almost immediate positive impact,” he says.

Mayor Nancy Peckford agrees that this funding announcement is great news for North Grenville and all the municipalities in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. Although quite financially stable, North Grenville has experienced some loss of revenue when it comes to facilities rentals in particular during COVID-19, and Mayor Peckford says it is great to see the province step up to help municipalities do more in terms of supporting their infrastructure than they could have otherwise. “It is no doubt the case that there remains urgent infrastructure needs in our community, as there would be throughout the counties, and every dollar counts. The $100,000 right now will helps us to address some short and midterm priorities.”

Mayor Peckford says the funding will be considered in the 2021 budget process, which is currently under way. “I expect that the $100,000 will be very much on the table in terms of some of the investment considerations we will be making around infrastructures priorities in the municipality. By the end of our budget process we’ll know exactly where those dollars are going.”

According to Mayor Peckford, the municipality is also very aware of other potential funding envelopes that may open up at the provincial and federal level, and will be very ambitious in terms of accessing every dollar they can from any level of government.

“The good news about this funding is that we don’t have to apply for it, we don’t have to compete for it, it’s coming to us and we can action those dollars very quickly and that’s great to see. It’s always wonderful news when that happens.”

Municipalities will have to submit their projects to the province to ensure they meet the criteria for the funding. Shovel-ready projects must be submitted no later than March 31, 2021, and all work must be completed by December 31, 2021.

Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times