A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that "Since there are currently no Federal or Provincial grants available [for a potential new community centre], the Town will continue to lobby for a policy change and for funding." Now, I am asking for your help with this effort.
As the National election started, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) ramped up their lobbying effort calling on all parties to focus on initiatives to “strengthen Canada’s hometowns.”
At the website Hometownproud.fcm.ca, FCM outlines a campaign to ask people to endorse their “roadmap” for strong cities and strong communities. They advocate for long-term, predictable and sustainable investment in local roads, bridges, and water / waste water infrastructure. They also suggest increased funding for public transit, for social / affordable housing, for local policing, and for emergency preparedness.
While “strong communities” need these elements, FCM seems to stop short of what a “hometown” or a community means.
So, while Pelham Council has worked hard to ensure that the Town improved its traditional infrastructure — like roads, bridges, and pipes – we have also worked to improve the quality of life for all. We understand that community is about a sense of place, about our joint heritage and shared histories, and about community activities and events.
FCM should also recognize that strong hometowns are about people – people coming together, interacting, celebrating, playing and remembering.
So, during this National election, please ask your local candidates to ensure that the Canadian Government will also help fund improvements to our quality of life – like new recreational and cultural facilities.
Last Thursday, I participated in a Ministry of Economic Development, Employment & Infrastructure consultation about how the Province should invest $15 billion over 10 years for “moving Ontario forward” outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
I commend the Ontario Government for working in partnership with Regions and communities to design programs and identify projects that will drive economic growth and address critical local infrastructure needs. They suggested potential investments in roads, bridges, public transit, high-speed internet access, and natural gas access.
During the session, I also advocated for funding for community and recreational facilities. I reminded the Parliamentary Assistant and the Ministry staff that the Province helped fund community facilities during the first round of stimulus grants and I encouraged them to add this criterion for future funds.
Please help by also offering this feedback at the Provincial consultation website at www.ontario.ca/infrastructureconsultation before September 18, 2015.
With your help, we can assist both the National and Provincial governments to develop policies and programs to help fund future quality of life investments – like a potential multi-faceted community centre.