May 1, 2006

Federal-provincial program supports over $500M worth of infrastructure in Alberta, Ontario

A $176-million investment by the federal and Alberta governments will enable urban and rural municipalities in the province to upgrade and expand their public infrastructure, including water and sewage treatment and solid waste management facilities, transit, roads and energy improvements to municipal buildings. The two levels of government are each contributing $88 million to the new Canada-Alberta Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CAMRIF). With matching municipal contributions, the fund is expected to reach a total value of $264 million.

Eligible projects under the CAMRIF include water and sewage treatment, solid waste management, public transit and energy improvements to municipal buildings. The fund also supports better roads and bridges, cultural, recreational and tourism projects and improved broadband Internet access. Eighty per cent of CAMRIF investments will be directed to projects in smaller municipalities (populations of 250,000 or less), with the remaining 20% earmarked for Calgary and Edmonton projects.

In addition, 55% of CAMRIF support will be directed to green projects, including water, wastewater, solid waste, public transit and environment and energy improvements. Of this total, at least 26% will be allocated to water and wastewater projects, including joint and regional water and wastewater projects, in areas with populations of less than 250,000, served by local governments.

Another 26% will be allocated to solid waste, environmental energy improvement, recreation, cultural, tourism, and connectivity projects, and a third 26% portion will be used for transportation projects supporting tourism and commerce (i.e. local roads and bridges and specialized transit in low-population areas served by local governments).

Finally, up to 1% of the fund will be set aside to help municipalities improve and increase their capacity to manage their infrastructure assets and to encourage a more efficient and sustainable approach to managing infrastructure.

A management committee will be established to develop guidelines governing the project review and selection process. Its six members will include two each from the federal, provincial and local governments. Projects will be selected on a competitive basis from applications received from Alberta communities.

It is expected that the deadline to submit applications for the first intake will be July 31, 2006. CAMRIF projects will be required to successfully complete applicable environmental assessment processes, and funding will be conditional on compliance with all applicable federal and provincial requirements.

CAMRIF is part of the nationwide Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF), a $1-billion initiative designed to foster sustainable, economically competitive communities.

In Ontario, joint federal investments totalling nearly $236 million are being made to improve infrastructure in 88 communities under the second intake of the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF, the Ontario counterpart to CAMRIF). These investments will help municipalities renew essential local infrastructure. Municipal contributions will bring the total Intake Two spending on local infrastructure improvements to more than $340 million. Federal-provincial funding under the first and second intakes will support 208 projects.

Under the five-year, $900-million COMRIF initiative, the two levels of government are working together with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and local partners to help municipalities enhance and renew public infrastructure and improve environmental quality and economic competitiveness. As with CAMRIF, federal contributions are contingent on the successful completion of an environmental assessment of the proposed project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Among the projects being funded are the following.

In Picton, the program will support the replacement of the existing municipal water pollution control plant with a new 7,000-cubic-metre-capacity facility with septage receiving, activated sludge treatment, aerobic sludge digestion, biosolids dewatering and storage. Canada and Ontario will each contribute up to $5.16 million, with Prince Edward County providing the balance of the total eligible project cost of up to $15.48 million.

An upgrading of the Amherstburg pollution control plant will receive $5.31 million from each of the upper governments, with the town of Amherstburg contributing up to $15.93 million of the total eligible project cost. The work will include upgrading the water treatment level from primary to secondary and replacing the chlorine disinfection process with ultraviolet (UV) treatment.

The governments of Canada and Ontario will each provide up to $5.1 million to replace the town of Lakeshore's water treatment plant. The town will contribute the balance of the total eligible project cost of up to $15.33 million. The new treatment plant will feature backwash treatment, a new reservoir, solids contact up-flow clarifiers with tube settlers, dual media sand filtration and UV/chlorine gas disinfection.

A project to implement a waste management program for the Pelee Island landfill will receive up to $303,801 from the federal and Ontario governments, with the township of Pelee contributing the balance of the total eligible project cost of up to $911,402. A recycling and composting program will be established on the island in order to reduce the total quantity of waste sent to landfill and improve solid waste management practices.

A municipal composting site in Barrie will be relocated and modified, with Canada and Ontario each providing up to $493,221 and the city contributing the balance of the total eligible project cost of up to $1.48 million. As part of the project, a new compost turner and wheeled loader will be purchased, and a recycling education facility will be constructed.

A trunk storm sewermain project in Kirkland Lake will provide a storm sewer outlet for the north half of the town. The federal and provincial governments will each invest up to $450,000 in the project, with Kirkland Lake providing the balance of the total eligible project cost of up to $1.35 million.

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