Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shared Investments in Pelham?

The last couple of weeks have been especially busy in the "municipal world." On April 15th we received word from the Honourable John Baird, Federal Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure & Communities, and the Honourable George
Smitherman, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy &
Infrastructure, that they would receive applications for infrastructure stimulus funding until Friday, May 1st.

As you may know, under the Canada / Ontario Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, all three levels of government contribute one-third of the total eligible project cost as long as the approved project can be fully completed by March 31, 2011. This funding will not only provide much-needed stimulus to the economy, it is also intended to help municipal governments meet our infrastructure needs.

So, for which projects has Pelham applied, you ask?

First, under the Building Canada Communities Component (communities under 100,000), we applied for a shared investment in the reconstruction of Haist Street. As one of Pelham’s most used collector roads, two kilometers of Haist Street from Canboro to Welland Road desperately requires reconstruction. Not only have the road and sidewalks deteriorated significantly, the water and waste water systems need upgrading.

The $5.71 million reconstruction will rehabilitate sidewalks and create a more efficient road system that includes bicycle lanes, improved sightlines, and traffic calming measures. The replacement of the cast iron watermains will improve water system resiliency and the project will dramatically improve the control of storm water. Federal and Provincial funding will allow this multi-phase, multi-year project to be dramatically accelerated and completed by December 2010.

Second, the Town applied for $2.32 million to revitalize Fenwick’s Downtown Core. You will recall that we were declined funding for this project in the fall because it was seen as a separate project to Fonthill’s downtown revitalization. Now, we are proposing similar urban design improvements which will calm traffic, protect heritage streetscapes, widen sidewalks with safe crossings at key areas, and provide decorative lighting.

Third, we applied for a $2.97 million replacement of Pelham Fire Station #2. Based on a complete functional analysis, the replacement firehall will provide sufficient space to park and work safely around the department’s equipment, a bunker gear storage area, and sufficient rooms for hands-on training and fire-related meetings / events.

Finally, the Town applied for $1.25 million to replace the Maple Acre Library Branch. Based on current usage and growth estimates for the Town and using a functional analysis, this replacement, rural-village branch library will provide much-needed, fully accessible space for library resources, programs, and community development.

We await word from the Federal and Provincial governments on these shared investment projects to improve our Town.