Coun. Ball learns of fed funding at FCM conference
How municipalities and the federal government can cooperate on infrastructure issues was a large part of the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Saskatoon from May 31 to June 5.
Coun. Murray Ball, who attended the conference on behalf of the Town of Olds, said Denis Lebel, federal minister of transport, infrastructure and communities, announced the creation of a new program to help municipalities fund infrastructure after the current one expires in 2014. Ball said the new fund will dispense about $2 billion per year to municipalities.
“The (federal) government is going to be bringing forward a new program to replace (the current) one. It will involve the spending of up to $2 billion a year on municipal infrastructure programs. He didn’t give much more details than that but the important part of the message that he gave was that this program, when it comes forth, will come forth soon enough that municipalities can make their applications for grants in time so that they won’t miss a whole construction season,” he said.
Ball guessed that further details on the new funding arrangement will be made sometime next year in order to start distributing money in 2015.
“To have an assurance … that the federal government is well aware of this requirement and is prepared to continue to play its role, I think was well received by the delegates,” he said, noting that everyone at the conference is concerned about how their municipalities will continue to upgrade aging infrastructure.
One other point of note from the conference came out of the workshop on improving technology. Ball said many delegates were impressed with the partnerships the town has been able to forge in implementing the Fibre to the Premise project and stay as technologically current as possible.
“I thought it was a very good example of how Olds is being cited as a leader,” he said.