The Ontario government is doling out $22 million in funding for infrastructure projects across 14 municipalities in Southwestern Ontario.
On Thursday, the provincial Labour minister is expected to announce that municipalities will use the dollars for everything from better roads to improved sewer systems in Lambton Shores and a new fire and paramedic station in North Middlesex.
“This critical infrastructure is vital to growing our local economies, and I’m proud that this government is prioritizing the construction of new roads and bridges for our rural communities,” said Monte McNaughton, who is also the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.
“It’s important to do this for our local farmers and small businesses and residents,” he said.
Nearly half of the funding — $10 million — is slated for bridge and road repairs in Chatham-Kent. The municipality has more bridges than any other municipality in the province, making up roughly five per cent of Ontario’s bridges, McNaughton noted.
“The construction . . . that this money is going to be used for will certainly lead to hundreds of jobs in our local communities,” he said, adding getting more people into skilled trades is his top priority.
Distributed through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, the money is part of $1 billion the provincial government has pledged to build and improve infrastructure in rural Ontario.
The dollars rolled out to municipalities vary based on area needs and economies, with the minimum amount allocated now sitting at $100,000, double what it was in previous years. Municipalities can choose to pool their funding for up to five years for larger projects.
“We've really increased the funding to the small communities,” McNaughton said.
Chatham-Kent: $10 million
Lambton: $2.3 million
Middlesex Centre: $2 million
Lambton Shores: $1.9 million
Strathroy-Caradoc: $1.7 million
Middlesex: $1.3 million
Southwest Middlesex: $740,000
North Middlesex: $564,000
Lucan Biddulph: $401,000
Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press