September 26, 2005

Green Municipal Fund supports brownfield activities in three southwest Ontario cities

Three southwestern Ontario communities will be taking important steps toward cleaning up contaminated land within their boundaries with funding assistance from Canada's Green Municipal Fund (GMF).

A grant of $159,264 will help Port Colborne develop its Waterfront Revitalization Strategy, while Welland will receive $60,000 toward its brownfield redevelopment Community Improvement Plan (CIP). A third GMF grant of $100,000 will help the municipality of Chatham-Kent prepare a CIP centered on a brownfield remediation strategy.

Port Colborne Mayor Ron Bodner outlined his community's project. "Using a multi-disciplinary systems approach," he said, "Port Colborne's project will evaluate various redevelopment options and outline detailed implementation strategies and policies to enable the revitalization and redevelopment of Port Colborne's Harbour and entire Waterfront."

Welland Mayor Damian Goulbourne said, "The City of Welland's Brownfield Redevelopment Community Improvement Plan will provide a comprehensive systems-based framework for the planning and implementation of environmental remediation, rehabilitation and economic revitalization of the City's numerous brownfield sites along the Welland Canal and throughout the City."

Chatham-Kent's CIP is "a key part of the development of an Official Plan for the new Municipality of Chatham-Kent," said Mayor Diane Gagner. "Its purpose is to stimulate redevelopment of brownfield sites in Chatham-Kent by identifying site development opportunities and providing a comprehensive framework for specific remediation policies, strategies and re-use opportunities."

The GMF is managed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) through a $550-million endowment from the federal government. The Fund supports partnerships and leveraging of both public and private sector funding to reach higher standards of air, water and soil quality, and climate protection.

Earlier this month, the FCM signed a new agreement with the federal government for the management of the GMF, with the overall objective of making the GMF a more sustainable, long-term funding source for municipal governments and their partners.

Under the new agreement, funding caps have been set for capital implementation projects under the Green Municipal Investment Fund (GMIF) and for studies under the Green Muncipal Environmental Fund (GMEF). The caps include: loans of $50 to $70 million per year and grants of $7 to $10 million per year through the GMIF to eligible capital implementation projects; and grants of $8 to $12 million per year through the GMEF to eligible feasibility studies, assessments, field tests and sustainable community plans.

In addition, the process for obtaining GMF grant and loan funding for capital implementation projects has become a competitive one, effective immediately.

Starting in October 2005, the FCM will issue Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for capital implementation projects. The first RFP will be for brownfield remediation projects. This will be followed by RFPs for each of the other GMF categories.

This approach is intended to benefit applicants by making it easier for them plan their long-term GMF funding needs. It will also ensure the GMF's long-term administration and sustainability.

The application process remains unchanged for feasibility studies, field tests and sustainable community plans. More information is available on the FCM Web site, www.fcm.ca.

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